Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Slower Running & Squash "Pasta" with Garlicky Basil Tomatoes

Ditching Speed
This morning the alarm went off just after 5 am and I soooo wanted to just say to heck with the run and go back to sleep. But considering that it was already 84 degrees and humid, it's not like I could put the run off until lunch or after work.

So, I reluctantly rolled out of bed and got myself ready while Jason did the same. The first mile kind of sucked. Mile 1 put us at the intersection of a busy road - usually empty at 5:30 am - where this one loan mini-van couldn't decide what they were doing. In turn, we had to stand and wait....and wait. It felt like 10 minutes. All Jason said was, "It's hot." Those were is first words of the morning.

We made a pit stop at the house at 2 miles into the run then off again. The brief stop actually helped me a great deal. I honestly thought I might have to take my inhaler or stop the run. I just couldn't breathe. Mile 3 was starting to get a little better. I finally hit some sort of rhythm by mile 4.

I decided to not pay attention to speed at all. Right now, speed is out the window. It's about playing it safe. Making sure I can breathe and don't get overheated to the point of a literal meltdown. We ended up with a pretty decent 6.5 mile run and when I got in my car to go to work 30 minutes later, it was 88 degrees. I think we deserve some relief up in here soon.

In fact, if you want a few "holy hell it's hot" stats - yesterday marked the 20th day in a row for 100+ temperatures (and it's that way all week). It was another record setting day and it now goes down as the 3rd hottest day for my city on record. Good times my friends, good times. You know it's hot when I actually complain about the heat because I find 90 degrees quite ideal.

Anyway, I reluctantly did my leg workout at lunch. My legs were heavy from the morning run, but I keep ending up with the 2-day-DOMS. So if I put it off until tomorrow, then Friday's long run would suffer from post-leg workout soreness.

So, today I went with another high-rep option then added on a few exercises at the end to hit all the muscle groups, especially glutes. Today I chose Cathe's Muscle Max. It's been years since I've don't that one and forgot about her crazy insane affinity for low-end pulses for squats and lunges. Crap that hurt.

Because the workout was mostly squats, lunges, plie squats and step ups, I added on a triset of 3 sets for deadlifts (10 reps), calf raises (20 reps), and hip lift/bridges (16 reps).

Veggies Please
Last night dinner was homemade spaghetti sauce with homemade meat(less) balls using Gimme Lean and a side salad. Jason was wanting pasta. I guess carb loading for today's run ;-)

Tonight I went with something more of what I tend to crave, veggies with veggies. I almost went with roasted kale, but decided to use up some of our squash and zucchini and make something a little different for a Squash "Pasta" with Garlicky Basil Tomatoes. How's that for an original name ;-)

Squash "Pasta" with Garlicky Basil Tomatoes
Ingredients:
1 squash cut into thin strips (by hand or with mandoline)
2 zucchini cut into thin strips (by hand or with mandoline)
cherry tomatoes, halved (not all of a 10oz container)
2-3 tbsp minced garlic
white wine or vegetable broth - maybe 1/4 cup
fresh basil, finely chopped
Splash of lemon juice
To taste: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, parsley, nutritional yeast
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained.
Daiya Vegan Mozzarella (optional)

Directions:
In large skillet, saute tomatoes, garlic, salt in small drizzle of olive oil until tomatoes begin to soften. With a fork, gently mash tomatoes to release juices. Add in black pepper, chili flakes, and wine and let simmer a few minutes.

Toss in the squash "pasta" as well as the lemon juice, white beans and cover with a lid. Allow to cook/steam until the squash begins to soften just slightly.

Remove the lid and add in the basil, parsley, nutritional yeast and allow to continue to cook to desired consistency of the squash.

I also made an easy socca bread to serve on the side. Essentially it's equal parts chickpea flour and water and whatever seasonings you prefer. You can either bake it or cook it in a non-stick skillet.
 

I served mine with a sprinkle of Daiya, but that's totally optional or you could use a goat cheese or fresh mozz. 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Getting my hair done
Veggie heavy dinner

Monday, July 30, 2012

Conquering My Fear of Cycling

Six Miles & Pool Time
This weekend was a good one all the way around. Saturday morning I got in a pretty good 6 mile run but the heat did a number on me big time. I should have stuck with my planned 5 miles or taken a GU at 4 miles. I normally take one around 6 miles into an 8+ mile run. So I didn't even think about needing it for 6 miles. 

During the run I was ok. I did finish all of my 20 oz bottle of water by mile 5 though. Right after my run I felt fine. I stretched and rolled. Used a cooling towel to bring my body temp down and took a cold shower.

But then it hit me hard. That icky nauseous feeling that signals that I need to get in electrolytes fast. It's not about food, it's not about carbs, proteins, etc. So I had some Gatorade (which I actually can't stand) but it really helped. So that headache and nausea finally dissipated so I felt human again.

Luckily, the only other thing I had planned for the day was spending time in the pool with friends and my sister (who decided last minute to come stay the night). I will say that when it's 109 degrees outside, the pool water begins to feel like a hot tub after a point. So it's nice to have the pool option, but it's almost not even refreshing when it's that miserably hot out. Of course, we toughed it out ;-)

It was a great day with lots of laughter. Just a day to enjoy.

Conquering Fears
Sunday morning I got up and headed out for a super easy 3.5 mile run. I took it slow and steady and just enjoyed the run. No pushing for negative splits or worrying about time. It was rather nice I  must add.

Jason has been wanting me to go ride bikes with him for a while now. So, that was the plan for the day. There is a bike rental downtown - Bobby's Bike Hike - so I reserved my bike for 11:30. Jason had actually gone to the store on Saturday and bought me a pair of padded bike shorts AND gloves. I'm surprised he didn't buy me a helmet. 

So, I showed up to the rental place all decked out and the guy assumed I knew what I was doing. Um, not so much LOL. But thank you for the vote of confidence. I certainly needed it. I was actually terrified.

Seriously shaky about it. I hadn't ridden a bike in at least 25 years and the bike I had was definitely not a road bike, no gears, you used the pedals to brake. Basic all the way. So to say I was a nervous wreck is really an understatement. And once I saw the bike, it was almost full panic mode.

In my mind, this is what Jason and I would look like riding together.

Source: google.com via Go on Pinterest

In reality, this is how I feared it will look. Thankfully it did not. But it was touch and go for a minute.





Source: via 騰騏 on Pinterest

Jason showed me how to shift the gears and where the brakes were and all that. My main focus was making sure I knew how to brake. Shifting was minor in my mind. After my quick lesson in cycling, it was time. I got on and started to pedal. It was like a child out of control and I was certain I was going to crash - and so was Jason at that moment. I stopped and was literally shaking it scared me so bad.

You've seen kids get crazy out of control swerving like mad? Yep, that was me. Jason admitted that after he saw me do that he started to have major reservations about the whole biking venture.

But, I got back on and gave it another try. Slowly, very slowly. At one point Jason said, "You run faster than this." And he was dead serious. He wasn't being mean mind you, just trying to make a point that I could probably pick up the pace just a bit.

I think he was a little bit embarrassed when other cyclists flew past us. I was trying though, that's what I kept saying. Slowly but surely I built up more courage to leave the one little area we were in.

We headed towards the Heifer building because there would be ample room in the parking lot with no cars or people to get in my way. I spent about an hour zigzagging through the lot trying to just get my bearings and figure out how to steer better. I felt so wobbly (for lack of a better word). I did workout up the courage to take the bikes across to the North Little Rock side of the river trails for a farther stretch of trail.

We did discover that my forte is powering up hills. When we were going up my first biggish hill, he looked over and said, "So that's how I can get you to go fast." Apparently my top speed for the day was going up hills. Who knew. Now going down? All about the brakes baby. I was terrified of loosing control.

After the bike riding adventure, we ended up having a late lunch at Dugan's with a much needed beer. I apologized right away to the waitress for the fact that we likely stunk. I mean, it was 104 degrees out there so while I was going at a snail's pace, it was hard not to get sweaty.

So I did it. I conquered a pretty big fear by getting on that bike. And I will say that while I wasn't ever completely comfortable, I'm glad I took on the challenge. It was really nice riding next to Jason. Just enjoying the outdoors. I can't say I enjoyed scenery though, I was kind of busy focusing on staying upright. But we enjoyed the time together and that was really nice.

What was the last fear you faced?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Running Quirks

Another 10
Last night I did not sleep well at all. Maybe I was slightly over-hydrating because I kept having to get up, what felt like every 30 minutes to go pee. So, when the alarm went off at 5, I really wanted to just say screw it, I'm going back to sleep.

But I turned on the lights and we both rolled out of bed and go ourselves ready for our long run of the week. We started off on the usual route for the first two miles then changed up the route. It was really kind of nice actually. The only downside was that we had to stick to the sidewalks which were of course wonky in some spots so you had to really pay attention.

The first 5 miles went by really quickly. My legs felt good. The air felt better. We had a front move through and it cooled it down to 75 degrees. After a heat index of 108, 75 could be snowing. And the breeze was actually cooler air too. So much better than last week's disastrous run.

I was able to really keep my breathing under control and also focus a little on my foot strike. I've been starting to get farther and farther on the ball of my feed again. I know mid-strike is ideal, but I take it to the extreme and it's definitely a throw-back to my ballet days.

Our route still took us towards the Clinton Library and my dreaded bridge. But, there is water on the other side of that darn bridge and a very beautiful sunrise to view as well. So over, down the other side of the river trail and back again. We stopped at the water spigot to refill and refuel at about mile 6.2. Then it was off again to get back over that darn bridge. But we took it steady and even and didn't try to just plow up it.

I did end up having to walk for a minute around mile 8.2. I could tell my heart rate was soaring. We'd just gone up two fairly significant inclines and were about to have to continue upwards as the return route is one continual incline, gradual, but for 2 miles. So I got my heart rate in check and we were off again.

I had felt so good the majority of the run, but by mile 9 my legs felt dead. Absolutely, totally dead. I tried to sort of change pace or my gait just a bit, but there was no point then. My legs were stuck in that one pattern, that one motion, that one speed and that's that. Have you ever had that happen? And then even trying to stop is hard. It's like your legs are working all on their own.

Anyway, 10.1 miles done and I didn't throw any temper tantrums or have any meltdowns. So much better than last week. And we actually ended up with a 9:30 pace even with my 1 minute walk. Not too bad considering recent long runs have really slowed down this summer.

Fun Facts Friday - Running Quirks 
I do apologize to my non-running readers for the onslaught of running posts. I hope that I don't bore you or run you off!! I guess it makes sense that I'd be posting more about running as I'm running more right now. If I get annoying, please speak up ;-)

Yesterday I saw this video and thought it was pretty hysterical, and became the inspiration for today's Fun Facts Friday post.



While I'd love to think I had the perfect running style, I know that's not true. Jason often points out that I'm doing something funking with my "Garmin hand." I kind of start to let my wrist drop and turn my hand facing in and I think it's because I'm trying to make the watch part rest comfortably. Who knows.

Also, I run way way up on the front of my feet and never put my heels down and over-supinate so race pictures it looks like I'm landing completely on the outside of my foot like I'm about to break it.

So. Perfect? Not a chance. So, I know I have some quirks, but I also notice other runner's and their oddities. I mean, when you're just out there running out on a running trail, you're going to see a lot of other runners and a lot of quirks and oddities right?

So, here are just some funny things I've noticed other runners doing. And I have posted some of these before ages ago. So I apologize if you remember that post.

  • Flapping hands - kind of a slapping the air motion
  • Arm up in the air - there is one girl I've seen that has her Garmin arm in the air like she's trying to keep it synced with the satellites or something. 
  • Palm up - there is a barefoot running that keeps his right palm facing up and he moves it back and forth in a rhythmic motion.
  • Head tilted - running with your head cocked to one side - maybe keeping earbud in?
  • Duck feet - feet turned out
  • Floppy feet - kicking feet out and in so the ankle and foot always looks floppy.
  • Prissy runner - the girls that have the perfectly done hair, full on makeup, matching head to toe, and fancy high-end sunglasses (not running sunglass mind you).
  • Hydration station - water belt loaded up with enough water to pass out to everyone else.
  • Pained - no explanation really needed, they just look like they're hating life (me last Friday I'm sure). 

So, what are your running quirks or what are some you've noticed?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
It's Friday
Happy hour with friends

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Running Ruminations & Spicy Tahini Stir Fry Sauce

Unintended Stir Fry
I didn't think I'd have anything to report about dinner last night, but I ended up accidentally making an amazing sauce that I wanted to share. It started out as a total hodgepodge dinner. I started roasting kale then Jason mentioned doing some sort of spicy "beef" and peppers dish using Gardein's Beefless Tips.

I started sauteing onions, red and green bell peppers and garlic. I added in a bit of soy sauce then wanted to add in some hoisin but thought I was out (different shaped container this time duh) so I added in a little of this a little of that, then found the hoisin.... And it turned out amazing. I also added in frozen peas and of course the Beefless Tips.

So, here is the list of ingredients for my Spicy Tahini Stir Fry Sauce (you just have to wing the amounts based on taste)

Soy sauce
Tahini
Sriracha chili sauce
Red pepper flakesr
Hoisin
Salt and pepper
Rice wine vinegar
Splash of water to loosen it up (mostly because I mixed in pan while cooking)

And yes, I served it over the kale. Of course had I realized I was ending up with a stir fry, I would have made rice or rice noodles instead.

Resting & Running Ruminations 
Today is my much-needed rest day. I did one more dry needling appointment as well. It'll probably be my last one. I do think it's helping, but at this point I've been going to physical therapy since February. I'm kind of over it at this point. 


Today's appointment was more focussed on the lower part of my gluteus maximus, almost near the highest part of the hamstring. Apparently he hit the "right" spot at one point and was ecstatic to see my muscle jump, twitch, and convulse. I, however, wanted to come up off the table. 


His enthusiasm for dry needling does not go unnoticed. Especially when he knows he's managed to hit the perfect triggerpoint. All I know is that my left butt muscle was achy the rest of the day. But, I do have faith that it's helping.

Anyway, I wanted to share some running ruminations - hopefully not boring non-runners. Last Friday's fairly horrendous run made me start to think a lot about why I do continue to run and how runners get through those tough runs. 

I think a lot of people are under the very false impression that runners love running because it's always great, always full of endorphins and runner's high. It's just flat out fun. I'm going to straight up call bullshit on that one folks. 

Running is not easy. Running can hurt, it can suck, it can make you question every ounce of your sanity. There are days when your lungs are on fire, when your legs feel like someone strapped on invisible 40 lb weighted plates to them, when you feel like you're running in place and the universe is absolutely against you.


But somehow, it's worth it. Because when you finish those particularly trying runs…you feel pretty freaking badass too (after you recover of course). It takes a strong will to fight that urge to just stop. Trust me, running is as much mental (if not more) as it is physical. 

On one shoulder you have that devil (or maybe it's really the angel depending on how you look at it) say, "What are you doing you dummy, this sucks, stop this nonsense right now, what are you trying to prove…."

Then there is the angel (or devil mind you) on the other shoulder saying, "You got this, you're not a quitter, you're strong, you're being silly, just keep moving it's almost over." 

And maybe it's not really an angel and devil but more your brain and your heart. Your head is telling you, "you're crazy, it hurts, it's not fun." Then your heart is telling you, "it's worth it, you do enjoy it, you are stronger than you think you are, stop doubting yourself."

And then maybe it's flat out stubbornness that keeps you going. Which reminds me of a great post by Laura from Mommy Run Fast - Why are runners so stubborn

I mean seriously, I know I'm stubborn to a fault. So am I a runner because I'm stubborn? Does running make you more stubborn? And, maybe being stubborn is a good thing. It keeps me going even when I completely doubt myself. Oh, and then there's that thing I like to refer to as Runner's Amnesia

I don't know how it works, but I'm thankful for it. I might be a little scarred from a long run for a day, maybe two tops. Now, I won't totally forget the mental part, but I typically forget the physical part. And then, I lace up, and hit the pavement all over again.

Maybe it's also a bit like poker - you dealt me 1 bad run, I'll raise you 5 good runs. Because those good runs? That's what we live for. Those are the runs we relish, we remember, we brag about. Those runs that make you smile like a fool for the rest of the day, the ones where you feel like you're flying, you could run all day, that all is right with the universe. Yep, that's what keeps you coming back for more. Because they do exist and it doesn't mean that they're easy mind you, but there's something special that happens.

So, running isn't easy. It's not supposed to be is it? Sometimes it's really hard, but so are a lot of things in life. It's how you deal with those hard runs/days/times though. You live, learn, and run on.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Rest day
Easy dinner
Painting fingernails 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mesh Tank & Celebrating Winesday

Trying Out Mesh
This morning I went ahead and got myself up and out of bed when Jason got up to go to his morning master's swim class. My plan was to get in 3-4 miles. At 5:30 it's still completely dark out, so I did hedge around until about 5:35 so that it would at least start getting light earlier into my run rather than right at the end (if that made any sense).

I tried out my new Brooks Running D'Lite Micro Mesh Racerback. Normally I just wear a sports bra and shorts, but I wanted to try to find something I could wear when running solo that wasn't hot and was vibrant so I could be seen.

This shirt fits the bill. It's mesh, as in mesh mesh, totally see through. However, you get the feeling of some coverage rather than just bare skin. Since it is mesh, the air flows right through it almost as if you were running without the top (almost, because it was sticking to me by the end). And, I think it's a good safety measure for being more visible in the dark.

So, I donned my new, bright shirt, clipped on my blinking light to a pocket, figured out how to get my mace/pepper spray attached to the hip of my shorts, my reflective arm band, AND my water bottle that also had my ID. I was armed and ready to go. Jason had actually sent an email at one point and said, "So I guess your a special forces runner now." Teehee, yep.

My plan was to do an easy easy run. My first mile was slow and easy at 9:40. But when running alone, I have a tendency most of the time, to pick up speed. I don't know if running solo in the dark plays a factor or not, but I did end up with an average 9:11 pace. But, it didn't feel forced or out of comfort zone levels so I think that's ok. Sometimes it's good to just go with it I think.

During lunch I ran home and got in chest, back, shoulders going with Cathe's Power Hour DVD. I had forgotten about the killer shoulder workout on this particular DVD. Holy cow. I wasn't sure I could eek out the last overhead press after front raises, side raises, rear delts...

And again, it's lower weights, higher reps, and varied rep patterns. And as daunting as it looks when you write it all out (which I have sheets printed with all the exercises, rep patterns, sets) it goes by really fast. You just don't have time to even think about it, you just do it.

Winesday
Tonight we ended up doing a sort of impromptu date night. We went to a wine bar nearby called ZIN. They have Wednesday wine tastings for $15 for 5 samples. Jason did that option and I just got a "safe" glass of a white.

 I'm really glad I did that this time. Last time I loved almost all of the pours I sampled from Jason's flight. This time...not so much. And I will say that the atmosphere in there on wine tasting day is completely different from going in for a happy hour glass. It's loud and just gets louder. Unfortunately, that is like nails on a chalkboard to me and makes me very anxious after a certain threshold. But, it was nice to do something different mid-week and get out of the house.

So, dinner is going to be late and is still undecided at this point. I doubt I'll be coming up with any new recipes again, but if I do I'll be sure to share ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Glass of wine
Different style of weight lifting

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Morning Run & Eggplant Mushroom Lentil Burgers

Morning Run
This morning started out painfully early. I woke up around 4:30 to potty. And my alarm was set for just after 5 so we could run. In other words, no point in falling back asleep obviously. But man that makes for a long long day. By 10 am, it felt more like 3 pm.

We set out for the run just before 5:30. At least there was a slight breeze today. That definitely helped with the heat/humidity. I will say that our pace was just all over the place though. Zero consistency going on this morning.

Our first mile was a slow one (though I thought we were going a bit faster) at 9:58, but then mile 2 was 8:31. Really? How'd that happen? I'll blame it on not being awake. And oddly, that might have been the best feeling mile for me. My legs started to get pretty heavy and I had to concentrate on my breathing. So I felt like my form was getting a little sloppy, which can make you less efficient of course.

So, after a slow mile then a fast mile, so continued the varied pace: 9:19, 9:01, 8:55, 9:09, and the last half mile I missed because I didn't hit the lap button, but based on time it was around a 9 min mile. So. 6.5 miles with average 9:12 pace. I'll take it.

Another New Recipe
I haven't made any sort of veggie burger in ages. Partly because I've been lazy. My original plan was to do a broiled eggplant and lentil dish that I found online. I was actually going to follow a real recipe for a change.

Then I realized I didn't have enough eggplants that were ripe enough to use. So then it was on to Plan B. I had 3 decent sized Japanese eggplants from our garden that really needed to be used fairly quickly. I also had 2 baby portobello mushrooms left over from last nights dinner. Thus was born the Eggplant Mushroom Lentil Burger

Eggplant Mushroom Lentil Burgers
Ingredients:
3-4 Japanese eggplant, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
2-3 baby portobellos, diced
Olive oil (just a drizzle)
To taste: salt and pepper
3 cups cooked lentils

1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
To taste: salt, pepper, ground red pepper, parsley, thyme
1 1/2 cup oats flour (may need more depending on consistency)
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add the eggplant, onions, and portobellos to a glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for approximately 25 minutes or until softened.

In the meantime, cook the lentils per package direction (I cooked up 2 cups of dried with 6 cups of water for extra lentils to freeze).

Combine the remaining ingredients up to the flour in your food processor and pulse to the desired texture you prefer. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add in the flour and flax egg. If mixture is too moist, add in additional flour as needed.

Form into patties and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes then flip and bake another 15-25 minutes depending on how firm you want your burgers.
 
This did make up 9 fairly large patties so you could reduce the recipe or do what I do and just freeze the rest.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Getting veggie burgers made
Relaxing evening



Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Recap & Mediterranean Portobello and Olive Sauce

Running and Enjoying the Weekend
This weekend was super productive. I got in 2 pretty good runs, definitely better than Friday's run. Saturday I set out for 4-5 miles. It was really hot (go figure) so I was trying to be flexible about my miles. If it was just too much, then I'd stop early. There's really no reason why I must get in 5 miles, or any for that matter. 

They weren't just easy peasy, but so much better than the previous day. I definitely pushed myself for some pretty good splits. My first mile was 9:10, then I got in 8:53, 8:54 then a holy-crap 8:36. I messed up my lap on mile 5 so I don't know exactly what that one was, but my overall average was 8:53. 

Now, I need to shave off about 10 seconds from that and be able to sustain for 13.1 miles and I'll be good to go for my next half ;-)

Oh, good to know lesson learned - ice pack on the back of your neck after a hot run is amazing. I can't believe I haven't been doing that all summer. It really helped cool me down fairly quickly. 

After lots of stretching and rolling out on my Triggerpoint Therapy Kit, I ate breakfast then started tackling some drywall repair in our bedroom. 

We needed to paint the room after the new AC installation and vent moving that took place in the spring. Been putting it off because we knew we had to do quite a bit of patchwork. It's always so messy to tear down plaster and drywall then patch, sand, patch, sand.

So, I started on that while Jason got some yard work done. Then I had to wait for it to dry so I got in the pool and my friend came over and joined me. It was such a relaxing afternoon just floating and chatting. 

Around 4:30 we went to The Root Cafe's 1-year anniversary celebration. It's about 3 blocks, so we could just walk over. They are committed to serving local foods and do have a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. They went potluck style, which was kind of cool. They did serve BBQ beef and BBQ tofu (the tofu was awesome) then everyone just brought sides and desserts.

I loved seeing all the very fresh, homemade sides. You could definitely tell that most of the items were freshly grown veggies. Very cool.

Sunday I got out for a 3 miler. My plan was to go really slow, kind of a recovery run. I ended up going faster than I had wanted, or had intended, but I was just going with how I felt so sometimes that's ok right? After the run I did do my leg workout that I had been putting off. Here's another lesson learned: don't do a 3-mile run and legs when you're planning to paint. Painting is a whole workout in and of itself.

The majority of the day was spent priming the patchwork, a short bit in the pool and a late lunch then back to painting, painting and more painting. I really thought it'd never end. But, the room is finally done and mostly put back together.

Monday oh Monday
After all the painting, running, lifting, getting out of bed today was a challenge. I was exhausted even after 8 + hours of sleep. At lunch, I did muster up the energy to get in biceps and triceps. Though, I really came close to calling it a rest day.

I wanted something different than the typical workouts I've been doing. I decided to go with Cathe's Power Hour DVD for bis/tris. I haven't used this DVD for anything but legs and abs in maybe 2 years. And while it's definitely an oldie, it's still a really good workout.

My weights have been pretty heavy with lower rep ranges for quite some time. Today was definitely a change of pace and my arms are already feeling it. Rather than 15-25 lb dumbbells, I was using 12's. And in the back of my mind I was semi-skeptical even though I know it's a good workout and just a different style. My shaking muscles will attest to that.

And it's not just doing 16 reps over and over, she actually changes up the rep patterns. So you keep lifting, no resting, no 3 sets of x number of reps. It just keeps going and keeps changing. For example, you might do 16 regular curls then 4 at a 3:1 (3 slow up and 1 count down) pattern then a 2:2 then a 1:3.

So it's constantly changing. I am debating maybe doing one all upper body with this style then 2 separate splits later in the week with the heavy weights, low reps. We'll see....

Dinner was mostly based on what needed to be used up in the fridge. I had some portobellos that I had picked up on manager's special (aka they needed to be used) and some asparagus to use as well. Jason had suggested maybe a mushroom sauce of some sort of Quorn patties with the asparagus and new potatoes on the side.

I thought immediately of something really heavy, winter-ish. He suggested a few options and then I looked around. In the end, I was out of ingredients like kalamata olives and capers for one sauce I wanted to try. So, insert Heather's version of a Mediterranean Portobello and Olive Sauce.

I won't really call this a recipe, mostly because I didn't measure anything, but here's the list of ingredients I used.

Ingredients:
1/4 red onion, finely diced
Minced garlic - to taste
White wine
3-4 baby portobellos (depending on size), finely diced
Handful of green olives, diced
Handful cherry or grape tomatoes, diced
Red wine vinegar (just a splash)
To taste: thyme, lemon salt, black pepper
1 lemon - zest and juice

I simply sauteed the onions and garlic until they began to soften then added in the white wine and the diced mushrooms. I let that simmer on low until the mushrooms began to soften then added in the green olives, lemon zest, juice, thyme, red wine vinegar, black pepper, and a lemon salt .

Again, let that simmer and reduce before adding in diced cherry tomatoes. Re-season as needed.

I think the "sauce" turned out rather well. I really didn't know exactly what to expect, so it's always a toss up when you just totally wing it. I think this would actually be really good as a dip with feta or over pasta or quinoa even.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Cross-training day
Trying new recipe
Relaxing on couch

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Testing Morning Run + Fun Facts Friday

Hard Run
This morning we woke up right at 5am to get in our long run of the week. And, as has been typical, it was already 80 degrees and thick, humid air. There was, at least, a light breeze. It was one of those runs that, from the beginning, I could tell wasn't going to play out as I'd hoped.

My legs felt pretty heavy and it was not easy to breathe. Then I made a pretty big mistake by going too fast, too soon. Miles 2, 3 and 4 were all at just over a 9 min mile pace. Not exactly what I should have been doing for a long, EASY training run.

By mile 5, I told Jason that I didn't want to go across the bridge by the Clinton Library. Going over is one thing, but then coming back with the steeper incline is another. And I was struggling big time. He had me check my heart rate and it was 173. Again, not exactly what you want for a long, easy run.

I know that it was mostly due to the humidity and not getting in the oxygen I needed. He had me slow down and really focus on my breathing: exhaling hard to get out all the air so that I could actually take in deeper breaths.

The problem I sometimes have with my asthma isn't suddenly not bing able to breathe, but this downward spiral of shorter and shorter breaths. In other words, less and less oxygen. All that leads to one big struggle.

After I slowed down, got my breathing under control (for the moment), we tackled the bridge. It might have been my one moment of clarity and enjoyment. The breeze from the river felt amazing and the sunrise was spectacular.

At mile 6.2 we stopped at a water spigot so I could refill my water bottle and take my GU. I should have stretched as my arches were starting to get tight. Oh yes, hello plantar fasciitis. We meet again and I hate you.

We got moving and continued along the river then looped back towards the dreaded bridge. At mile 7.2  I told Jason I didn't want to run anymore. I was done. I didn't say "can't" just yet at least. I stopped and stretched my calves on the curb to try to stretch out my feet. Then back to it. Jason just kept reminding me to not power up the hill but take it slow and steady.

So, 10.1 miles finished, but they were not easy, not the best at all. Did I feel accomplished at least? You bet. I didn't stop even though every fiber of my being wanted to stop. I did in fact finally say "I can't," but I did of course.


But it was one of those runs where I started to question why I run, what I was doing, why I signed up for another half, was there a way to get out of that race....oh yes, all the negative thoughts about running came pouring into my head. And of course self-doubt. Why was this so hard. I've been working on tackling all these damn hills, acclimating to the heat. Shouldn't I be stronger not weaker? And the litany of doubt went on and on.

As I was lying in the floor with my feet propped in the air (in front of the fan), I did have to remind myself that the humidity does affect me and my running. The heat affects me and my running. And so do the hills, the going out too fast, fatigue. But I didn't quit. I am not weak. I'm definitely stubborn enough to prove I can finish at least.

So, I'm waiting for the runner's amnesia to kick in because I know I'll lace up and be right back out there again (probably tomorrow).

Fun Facts Friday - Sunshine
It is Friday, and Fridays should be happy. So let's move on to some sunshine, also known as Fun Facts Friday. I recently received the Sunshine Award From Cory at Learning Patience. If you haven't checked out her blog, you really should. She's an amazing, upbeat, fabulous blogger. 
Thank you Cory!



As an award winner, there are a few rules to follow:
  • Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
  • Answer the questions below. 
  • Pass on the award to some fabulous bloggers  
Favorite Color? Periwinkle

Favorite Animal? Koala bear because they're so darn cute - but in real life, a Cocker Spaniel of course.

Favorite Number? Hmmm, don't have one. Maybe 13.1 ;-)

Name 3 places to visit from your bucket list: Italy (would like to see where my great-grandfather was from),  Hawaii (to see where Jason was born), Greek Islands

Favorite workout move: The basic bicep curl

Name 2 shows on TV you love: Cougar Town (hello they drink wine) and The New Girl

What is your passion? Running and fitness

Giving or giving presents? Giving. I love buying for others and watching them receive the gift.

Name a talent you'd love to have: To sing (well)

Your turn, answer one (or all) of the above. I'd love to hear your response.

And to complete the award, I do need to pass it along to some fab bloggers (this is always the hard part actually).

Heather at Mile 26 and more

Crissie at RunCrissieRun

Sarena at The Non-Dairy Queen

Tiffany at The TexAthlete

Krysten at The Misadventures of a Darwin Fail

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run (well.....)
It's Friday
Having the best friend ever to slap me back to reality (thanks Jess)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Running Un-Scared

Running Un-Scared 
This morning I woke up around 5:15 to get in a 3-4 mile run. Originally, Jason and I had planned on doing speed work after work. However, with our temperatures back into the 100's and air quality on the decline, I thought it was smarter (safter) to scratch that run and go with a Plan B.

My plan B was a solo run around the neighborhood. I won't lie, it does make me a little nervous to head out in my neighborhood when it's still dark out. I haven't figured out exactly how to carry both my water bottle and mace. Any tips?

I do wear a reflective arm band made by Brooks Running as well as a flashing light that I attach to my shorts. And I do carry my ID. If you do run at night or dark morning hours, I highly recommend Brooks' Nightlife line of clothing and accessories.
Nightlife Reflective Arm Band - Source
As much as I wanted to go a different route, since I was solo and it was dark, I stuck to my normal route. I figured if anything happened, Jason would know the direction I ran and the path I took. Luckily, no iffy people were out, no random stray dog, just a quiet, peaceful (hot) run.

I ended up hitting 3.6 miles and almost went for an even 4 - that's the OCD side of me of course. But I did good and reeled myself in, rather begrudgingly I'll admit.

My pace was quicker than I expected - overall average of 9:04. I managed negative splits with each lap (9:27, 9:01, 8:50, missed the last lap split), which always makes me feel accomplished.

Do you get nervous running alone? I try to be very aware of my surroundings. I don't listen to music, and I stick to a familiar route.

I've actually had one very frightening incident where I was actually followed by a car of men, but decided I can't let that dictate my life and keep me inside. Luckily I've never experienced something that caused me to question making it back to my house or car - like heat exhaustion, dehydration, etc. But those are certainly other safety factors to consider.


Have you ever experienced a frightening incident during a run? How did you handle it?

I know that there have been recent tragedies where female runners have been killed while out on a run. Runners and cyclists have perished because of drivers not paying attention as well. Or what about an injury, or suddenly getting ill, over-heating, etc. So how do we protect ourselves? Do we live in fear or just live aware?

Right after my incident, I was almost numb, maybe in shock and denial that something really bad could have happened. I started running with mace and followed a tip to vary my times and routes, but sticking to familiar routes, and those that are better lit as well.

Here's a great list of safety tips like varying the times, not listening to music, wearing a whistle, and knowing some businesses that might be open (love this idea actually).

What tips would you add to this list? 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Weight workout
Relaxing evening
Movie or date night in

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dead Garmin & Humidity Kicking My Running Butt

Holy Humidity 
As has become typical on Tuesdays, we woke up just after 5am to get in our medium distance run. The plan was for 6 miles.

It was humid from the start, that kind of humid that makes it feel like someone is sitting on your chest. Normally exercise does not affect my asthma. Humidity, however, is not my friend. I had a terrible time getting my breathing under control this morning.

I finally started to settle into an ok rhythm around mile 2. The first mile was just getting moving really and was at a 9:31 min mile. Mile 2 we stepped it up a bit for 8:54 pace. Jason made a stop by the house and I continued on meeting him at my mile 3, which was surprisingly an 8:44 pace.

I had to stop and wait a while for 4 cars, perfectly spaced apart, just after my 3-mile point. This completely threw my rhythm out of whack. We got going again and mile 4 was 9:09 (not bad considering the extending standing and waiting time). Then my Garmin froze up on me. I didn't notice it for a while, but I looked down to see the distance (trying to determine which direction to go) and it was frozen at mile 4's lap time.

It pretty much went downhill from there (not literally, literally we were going back up hill). I started trying to get the Garmin to unfreeze. I tried to stop the session and restart, tried hitting the lap button, even tried to power it off. Nope. Nothing. So of course that threw any rhythm and consistency way off.

So not only was I ticked, I was gasping for air, cursing like a sailor and trying to figure out the distance. I couldn't even see the time to get a general idea. Now, if I didn't need to get back to the house to get ready for work by a certain time, then it might not have mattered if I was too far from the house and hitting 7-8 miles. However, I needed to get back home to get to work on time.

Jason's timer was for his running time so that didn't help a lot. But he did switch it over to the real time just so I could guess and then try to figure out how far out we were. I ended up mapping it on MapMyRun and it looks like it was 6.64 miles. That would be just a tad off from what I was thinking based on my first 4 miles on the Garmin. Not sure which is more accurate.

Anyway, I ended up with somewhere between 6.5 and 6.64 miles and an average pace under a 9 min mile (somewhere between 8:53 and 8:58 not really sure).

I'll readily admit that I got irrationally angry at my fancy schmancy device. But I just couldn't stop thinking about how it was frozen up, maybe broken, maybe dead. I just wanted to see the time for myself. Clearly I have come OCD issues going on.

Do you find yourself getting irrationally angry or upset with technology? Or do you just roll with it?

I had originally planned on  doing legs during lunch, but they were pretty heavy from the morning run. So, I went with a chest workout from Cathe Friedrich's Power Hour DVD. I always forget how that one can really sneak up on you.

The workout starts with a series of pushups that also incude rep speed changes (like 4:4 counts) as well as some where you jump your feet in then out then your pushup. Next up is chest flyes dones at a nice, slow 4:4 count. Finally you move on to presses that seem to go on forever with lots of rep pattern changes. Short, sweet, but shaky.

Simple Salad Dinner
So, I missed the boat on Taco Tuesday today. I didn't even think about it until I had dinner already started. Oh well, there's always next Tuesday right? Plus, I had some veggies that needed to be used up that didn't quite fit the taco theme.

I had a bunch (as in a lot not a single bunch) of kale that needed to be used up sooner than later. So I just went with a simple roasted kale, veggies & tofu salad for dinner.

I roasted up the kale (seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast flakes), squash from my mom's garden, zucchini, and roasted red bell peppers (from the jar). I baked up tofu, cubed it and also added in some homegrown tomatoes and tossed it all together and dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

Not fancy, but tasty and filling. Even better, I now have kale for tomorrow's lunch ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run (sort of)
Weight workout
Easy dinner
Relaxing on couch

Monday, July 16, 2012

Running in the Rain & Heath Update

Heath Man
First I suppose I need to update you on Heath. He's doing so much better. He actually got to come home Friday evening and was one happy boy to be back home. He does have a follow-up this week to recheck his toxicity levels (my technical version for lack of better explanation).

For now, they are treating it as if he got into something poisonous and it was affecting his liver function. They gave him lots of fluids and he's on meds and a new special food for his liver.

Hopefully everything will check out when we take him back and we can move forward. If his levels are still off, however, then it could be something more. We just don't know yet.

But, he's home and acting super peppy again.
Heath
Maddie avoiding the camera

Running
Saturday morning I woke up to a light rain. It wasn't storming and it wasn't just a downpour so I decided to go on out for a run. I knew I'd be soaking wet one way or the other, and rain is certainly more refreshing than just sweat.

It ended up being a fantastic 5-miler for me. I really had to just make myself stop running because I could have kept on going for another 2 miles easily. And considering I had run 10 the day before, I thought that might be pushing my luck just a bit (or a lot).

There was definitely a time when I would see someone running in the rain and think, "That's just plain crazy." Now I'm that crazy person. But there's just something so fun about running in the rain (as long as it's not cold of course). Kind of makes you feel like a kid. Just free with no worries.

It rained most of the morning, so Jason and I decided to run errands because clearly it wasn't pool-weather. We ate a late lunch and then the sun came out around 3 so we hopped in the pool and just lounged for a bit. It was a fairly lazy day overall.

Yesterday it was cloudy and the air thick, but no rain. Jason and I set out for a shorter run. At first I thought my legs weren't going to cooperate, but they loosened up quickly and we fell into a pretty good pace. We ended up with negative splits. Nothing earth-shattering, but it is still nice to be able to pick up the speed each mile (and even better when it feels comfortable. So 3.5 miles done putting me at 27.5 for the week.

After the run I did do Cathe's MMA Boxing DVD and some abs. I needed to test out my newly hung gym mirror. It's been propped on the floor for nearly two years. Saturday, Jason got it hung up for me.

I did lots of laundry, swept, dusted, basic chores. Then we decided to walk over to the little Farmers' Market they started doing down the street on Sundays. There is a store called The Green Corner Store that we stopped into first. We've never made the time to go in there, which is silly because we run by it all the time and live 3 blocks away.

It's a really cool little store, lots of handmade items, even makeup. Then we stopped by the Farmers' Market next. We didn't really need any veggies, but just wanted to check it out and see what vendors were there. It's growing slowly but surely.

We made plans to meet up with our friends at a fun place called Pizza Cafe. They have a really nice patio space (lots of big fans too), so we headed that direction a little early to stop into an antique store - just piddling basically. After lunch we went over to our friends' house to have drinks on their patio. We brought the pups along so they could get out of the house as well.

The rest of the evening was spent sitting on the couch watching a movie. Lazy Sunday evening.

Double Monday & BBQ
Today I decided to get in weights during lunch. I did not do shoulders last week in hopes that it would help my right shoulder feel better. Today I decided to add in the shoulder workout with my biceps and triceps.

I went with supersets for the same muscle group done as 3x8 (triceps done as 3x10) then an exercise done as a dropset starting at 6 reps with heaviest weight, 8 reps, 10 reps (decreasing weight each set)

SS#1
Biceps curls
Hammer curls

Dropsets for biceps - Preacher curls

SS#2
Weighted triceps dips
Double-arm kickbacks

Dropsets for triceps - Double-arm overhead triceps extensions

SS#3
Upright rows
Lateral raises

Dropsets for shoulders - Overhead press

Jason and I had talked about doing a speed workout after work, but it was calling for rain. So, rather than sit around and wait, I decided to scrap the run and do my Susan Chung RapidFire Results Kickboxing DVD instead. I've run 3 days in a row and plan to run tomorrow, so the break is really ideal.

I wanted dinner to be easy tonight, so I just went with BBQ tempeh sandwiches with baked sweet potato fries on the side. I just saute onion and bell pepper then add in crumbled tempeh and BBQ sauce. Easy peasy (and messy and impossible to photograph).

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Good workouts
Easy dinner
Relaxing evening
Happy pups

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - You Know It's Hot When

10 Down
This morning the alarm went off way way too early. I didn't exactly sleep very well. I had Heath on my mind. But, I rolled out of bed at 5am and started to get myself ready for our planned long run.

I was hoping the temps would be lower with whatever this weird front situation is. But it was about 75 degrees, 90% humidity with dew point of 72. Again...soupy is the word of the day. I was sweating long before mile 1 was even complete.

My quads were heavy from the very start. Still insanely sore after Wednesday's leg day. I swear with every step they hurt. I kept hoping that once I settled into a rhythm they would ease up. Not so much the case today.

In the distance we notice some lightening. At first I thought I was just seeing lights reflecting off the cars. Maybe hallucinating, or still asleep. I was hoping that at some point we might get some rain for a bit of relief. But then I noticed the skies clearing in the other direction, the direction we were about to head.

We went down towards the river, crossed over the bridge at the Clinton Library then rain along the north side of the river before turning around and heading back. At 6.7 miles in we did spot a water spigot so we took that opportunity to get more water and take our GU before heading on.

Of course when you go over a bridge, it means you have to go over it again (or another one) to get back home. The return side is exactly .25 miles up before plaining out to head down. The total span is .45 miles. Good info to know right ;-) Ok, so I might be a bit OCD sometimes.

I actually felt better mentally with today's run vs last week's long run. But was frustrated with the slow speed. And I recognize that I shouldn't have been focused on that at all. It was about the distance not breaking speed records for myself. And honestly, going slower helped with my breathing tremendously not to mention my quads probably would have just stopped working had I tried to go faster.



So, 10 miles proudly tackled. And I was one sweat mess after.

Fun Facts Friday - You Know It's Hot
I actually started jotting down the "facts" for this post last week when it was in the triple digits. But, it still pertains to heat combined with humidity. In other words, still relevant even thought the temperatures are now "only" 90 degrees.

We've had kind of an odd summer. I mean, we're in the south and it gets hot. Really really hot. Got that part. Usually it's hot and humid. A non-humid day would be 50%. But this summer, the humidity started of really low. As in some days only 25-30%. That's flat out dry. So we had the heat, but not the typical humidity.

Then all the sudden the temps dropped 15 degrees but the humidity shot through the roof. So now we're back to the lowest being 65% and of course the bad stuff at 100%. Usually when it's soupy like that you expect rain or you're on the Gulf Coast.

So of course while running and sweating and praying for sprinklers or rain or something, I started thinking of the "you know it's hot when" scenarios.

You know it's hot (and humid) when:
  • You can literally wring out your shorts after a run.
  • You start to think that 90 degrees is a cold front (and it is).
  • You get 2nd degree burns from your car seat and gear shifter - and forget touching the steering wheel.
  • You start to think about running naked and realize no one would think you were crazy (ok maybe a little).
  • You run into a stranger's yard to just run your arm through their sprinkler.
  • Sprinklers are not even cooling actually.
  • It's too hot to go to the lake because the lake water is hotter than your bath water.
  • The tree and grass leaves are all one color - brown.
  • You start to brag about how hot it really is - it's 105 here, oh that's nothing it's 109 here (same goes with humidity).
  • Your brand new AC unit is on 75 and it's still 82 in the house.
  • You have multiple box fans around the house to help circulate the air - they become part of the decor.
  • You don't even need to turn on the propane to grill.
  • Even after a cold shower and the box fan propped up on the vanity blowing directly on  you as you get ready, you still can't stop sweating long enough to put on makeup, forget about drying your hair.
  • When it does start to sprinkle your husband asks you if it's really rain or if you're slinging sweat on him (how's that for love). 
So, how do you know when it's really hot (or humid)?

And - thank you for all your well-wishes for our Heath Man. At the time of this post, we still have not heard back from the vet. Really hoping to hear something soon though.

Daily To-Enjoy List
Morning run
Rain drops
It's Friday

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Double Workout & A Sick Pup

Kicking & Lifting
This morning I ended up waking up early enough to get in a workout. So I went with my new Susan Chung Kickboxing DVD. I am really loving this one. At first I was slow to get moving. My legs were feeling yesterday's workout big time.

But, once I got going, I really got into the workout. Now, let me preface the next part with the fact that my DVD player in my gym room died on me and we've yet to replace it. So, I've been having to drag the laptop into the room and use that to play DVDs for the time being.

So, I'm punching and kicking right along, sweat flying...you get the idea. Then the DVD stops. And then the computer starts a 10-minute long freaking update/reboot process. WTH? Ok I really said something a lot worse than that. Nothing worse than being in the middle of a good workout and it be halted so abruptly.

While the forever-long reboot was happening, I did get in some ab work at least. Finally the computer was up and running but of course I was totally thrown off track and had to try to figure out where on earth I was in the middle of the workout. Talk about needing a punching bag not just the air!

This is why running in the early morning hours is more ideal than trying to do anything that requires technology or equipment.

During lunch I did go home and get in a back workout. I decided to put of my shoulders until this weekend because I have a long run planned tomorrow. I have been holding a ton of tension in my right shoulder during my runs, so starting off with sore shoulders at the beginning is less than ideal.

I ended up completely ditching my planned back workout and went with straight sets of 3x8 for the following exercises with the exception of the last one.

Underhand rows
Single-arm rows
Single-arm horizontal dumbbell rows
Lat pulldowns with resistance band - 12 single count reps, 8 2:2 count (used heaviest tension band)

I can't decide if the workout was a good one or not. I think I should have increased weights for underhand rows perhaps. I have a hard time really feeling the muscle work for horizontal rows, but wanted to incorporate something other than pullovers.

My Heath Man
After work I ended up hitting the grocery store. We were getting low on most fresh veggies and fruit. And while I don't really like going right after work, it at least ensures I don't have to get there on the weekend.

I really don't have any ideas about dinner tonight. I'm a little worried about my Heath Man to be honest. He started not wanting to eat his food a few days ago, just picking at it here and there, but he would eventually eat most of it.

The last time this happened it was because of his teeth, and we had those all cleaned up. But this time we were thinking it seemed like more perhaps. He's not been acting too terribly different, but Jason thought his urine looked dark.

So Jason took him in this morning. He got a call later in the afternoon saying they wanted to keep him overnight and put him on an IV. Initial tests are pointing to something being wrong with his liver function. So, needless to say, my mind is not exactly on dinner or much of anything else really. Trying not to panic just yet and hoping for good news tomorrow.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Getting groceries out of the way
Getting workouts done early


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Puke Worthy Sprints & Hodgepodge Pasta

Sprints & Legs
This morning I had kind of sort of hoped to wake up when Jason got up for swim so I could get in some kickboxing. However, he apparently decided not to go so he didn't get up, which means neither did I.

So, the next plan was to get in a speed workout. We hadn't done a speed workout since that last wonderful one when it was 103 degrees out. Sadly, that one actually felt better than today.

We did the same set up as the last one - 1.1 mile run over to the park. Then 8 35-40 second intervals with rest between. The rest times became more sporadic depending upon the puke factor that was happening.

While it was cooler out, index 89, the humidity was insane. It felt like it should have been raining, but it wouldn't. Seriously sweating the minute I started moving. My lungs were not happy at all. I had such a hard time breathing today. I never seemed to get it completely under control.

But, I managed my intervals at a decent time somehow, miracle or delusional or something. The first 5 were at 6:21, 6 & 7 I wanted to die and slowed down to 6:40, but kicked out the last one at 6:21again. The intervals totaled a mile in distance. Then we had the 1.1 mile run back for a total of 3.2 miles.

Even after a cold shower, box fan in my face, I couldn't stop sweating to get ready to get back to work. Ick.

My weight workout plan today was going to be back, shoulders and chest. I had it all written out. But I've had this pinched thing going on in my upper back and an achy shoulders, so I figured the smart thing to do would be to not do that planned workout.

While I had a leg workout all written out, I was feeling lazy and decided to let someone else just tell me what to do. So I went with an old school Cathe Friedrich DVD - Power Hour.

It's higher reps and uses a variety of rep patterns for squats, plie squats, and static lunges. I added on the following done as a triset done 3 times through: single-leg deadlifts (10 each side), calf raises (20), and hip bridges (12). I then followed it up by a nice stretch.

Two words: shaky legs.

Hodgepodge Pasta
Tonight I was totally wishy washy about dinner. At first I thought I might grill veggies for something undecided. But it kept clouding up like it was going to rain then clear up. Next idea was roast the veggies maybe for a salad. But we've had salads all week so far.

That left me with cooking them in a pan - not sauteeing - but simmering I suppose. This was sort of a hodgpodge dinner really. I had some veggies that needed to be used and was pretty much not in the mood to do much or be terribly creative.

So I ended up sauteeing red bell pepper and garlic until it began to soften then I added in a can of no-salt diced tomatoes and veggie broth. I let that simmer for a bit then added in Japanese eggplant from the garden, green beans from my mom's garden, and portobellos that were on their very last leg.

Oh and of course there was the tofu that I dry-seared then baked and cubed and tossed into the mix. I seasoned it all with salt, pepper, parsley, fresh oregano and basil and some red chili flakes. Then I served over pasta. 
I had originally planned to use some squash from my mom's garden as well. However, I kind of ran out of room in my skillet - which was already enough food for 4-5 people easily. I have zero concept of portion control.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Run (well, that's iffy but at least I was able to)
Relaxing evening
Watching a movie
Glass of wine (or 2)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another Two-a-Day on Taco Tuesday

Two on Tuesday 
This morning started off way too early. I slept fairly well until around 2am then I was tossing and turning a bit, but refusing to look at the time. The alarm was set for just after 5 so we could get up and get in a run. The plan was 6 miles (or that was my plan anyway).

I had hoped the temps would be a lot cooler after a recent front moved through. They were, sort of. It was still around 74 degrees but the humidity was 90% and the dew point in the upper 80's. In other words, it was soupy out.

I felt pretty good for the first mile, of course we were taking it slower. But I could feel the humidity start to affect my breathing. While I don't get exercise-induced asthma, I have severe asthma that has always affected my exercise. Usually, Singulair keeps me on track unless I have some major allergy issues OR extreme humidity. Singulair can't fix humidity.

Somehow I did manage do pull out fairly good times for miles 2 and 3, but definitely started slowing down by mile 4. I just had to focus on the breathing basically so that sort of negates any worries about time or foot strike - which I've been actively working on to stop the over-supination.

Anyway, Jason dropped off at mile 5. I knew I wanted to at least get in another half a mile and see how I felt. I ended up finishing it out to my planned 6. I do feel like I'm just getting slower and slower though.

My average was a 9:10. Yes, I can blame some of that on standing and waiting for traffic, or zigging and zagging...but I really think it's just me not trusting myself. Of course, I probably should account for heat and humidity if I want to throw in more excuses huh ;-)

I had originally planned on doing a leg workout at lunch, but after the dry needling yesterday, run today, and speed work planned for tomorrow, I thought I'd give my bum a break. So I went with biceps/triceps and some abs instead.

I started with supersets for bi/tri then I did supersets for the same muscle group. The first two were done as 3x8 and the last 3x10

SS#1
Alternating curls
Double-arm overhead triceps extensions

SS#2
Hammer curls
Preacher curls

SS#3 (done as 3x10)
Weighted triceps dips
Double-arm kickbacks

I followed up with some ab work and called it a day. I will say that today's weights were kind of a struggle, well, the biceps. I was feeling super weak, I have been since having to move workouts back home. I'm trying to use the same weights I would have used at the gym, but they seem so much heavier.

What gives? Has this ever happened to you where you change your environment and your workouts seem to change as well (and I don't just mean the workout types)?

Taco (Salad) Tuesday
Since I had my workouts done, I had plenty of time to focus on stretching and rolling out after work. I definitely needed it.Since my injuries, I feel like I'm always on guard when it comes to the slightest pull, twinge, tightness.

It seems like I just can't get all the way healed up. If it's not one thing then something else starts to want to hurt. I have gotten out of the habit of my daily 30-minute stretch sessions. I am about to have to squeeze those back in I do believe.

Anyway, today's dinner was super easy. I just went with the Taco Tuesday theme. Rather than tacos, I opted for the taco bowl though. Still counts right? If you want to see an amazing Taco for Taco Tuesday, you gotta check out Kristina's post.

If you've followed for any length of time, my taco salad bowls get pretty repetitious. But that's ok by me; it's a tried-and-true fave for a reason right?

I did have some corn from my mom's garden to use (grilled it the other day). So I just combined the corn with red onions, yellow and green bell peppers, fresh jalapenos (from my garden finally), tempeh, black beans and the typical Tex-Mex seasonings like chili powder, cumin, cilantro. I did add in a splash of liquid smoke and lime juice to keep it from being too dry.

And of course I topped it with cherry tomatoes, a ton of jalapenos (included extras on the side to add as I ate), and Daiya Vegan Cheese.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Easy dinner
Relaxed evening
Rain

Monday, July 9, 2012

Low-Key Weekend & More Dry Needling

Low-Key Weekend
This weekend was pretty low-key for us. I should have gotten far more done around the house than I did. I tried to keep up with laundry, sweeping (dead grass + 2 dogs = lots of sweeping), and general clean up/straightening, other than that, I was pretty lazy.

I did get in two decent runs. I did 5 miles on Saturday and 3.5 yesterday. Both were hot and sweaty and deserving of pool time. Though, I can justify pool time pretty much any way you look at it. I was pretty happy with Sunday's run. The first mile was pretty slow (9:31 mm) but I hit a good rhythm and was able to pull out negative splits with mile 2 at 8:55 then mile 3 and the last 1/2 mile both at an 8:36 mm. Not too shabby.

My first attempt at pool time on Saturday was met with clouds. We desperately need rain so I was more happy than annoyed. Of course, right after I get cleaned up the sun comes out. Jason and I ended up going for a late-ish lunch after he was finished with yard work. By that time the sun was out in full force so we both got in the pool for a few hours.

Sunday ended up being mostly cloudy, but no rain in my area. It seems to just keep going around us. Jason went for a ride with a friend and they got rained on (they were farther west), but at my house? Not a drop.

My sister did come up briefly yesterday. We ran a few errands, just piddling really. I am on the hunt for the perfect orange colored pillow shams and/or throw. Since I have something so specific in mind, it means I won't find it of course. I may end up having to go to the fabric store and just making the shams myself.

After hitting up Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, TJ Maxx and Barnes and Noble, we headed back to the house. She got some pool supplies from us and headed home. So it was a short visit but a nice one as always.

Jason and I were lazy and went out to lunch again. We shouldn't have, but sometimes it's nice to just be lazy and not mess with cooking. So, not an exciting weekend necessarily, but a good one nonetheless.

More Dry Needling
Today I went for my 2nd dry needling appointment. Last week he just used one needle in my gluteus medius area. Today he also inserted a needle in my low back. That one I barely even noticed, but the one in my rear? Yowzers.

It wasn't the insertion, but it was when he "pistons" the needle to make the muscles jump. And boy did they freaking jump. I was so worried my leg was going to fly up and somehow push the needle in and do serious damage. Thankfully, nothing that dramatic happened.

He tested my rotation strength again and it's definitely improved, but it is sore when I try to resist him pushing. He sounded like that was to be expected. So, overall, it seems to be working. I'm not waking up in the middle of the night in severe pain, but I am experiencing some achyness during my runs (towards the end....in the rear end LOL).

I guess I'll know more on how well it's working throughout the week as the initial, "just had a needle jabbed in my butt" sensation subsides.

The plan for working out had been to go home and do biceps/triceps then a 3-mile speed work run with Jason. The plan, however, depended upon how I felt after the dry needling. Honestly, it just felt bruised, and not achy like last week.

However, I realized that it's been 10 days since my last rest day. I'm a firm believer in taking those necessary days off from working out. So, even though I had it all planned out in my head how this week's workouts would go down, I decided to be kind to my body and take the day off today.

Roasted Dinner
Since I wasn't working out after work as planned, I had more time to mess with dinner. The rain has been in and out today, so I played it safe and roasted the veggies rather than grilled them.

The minute I started grilling I knew it would rain. Though, we still need the rain so perhaps I should have grilled after all.

I had both kale and beets on hand along with some squash from my mom's garden. So basically that's what we had - Roasted Kale, Beet & Squash Salad with a vegan Creamy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce. I did toss on cannellini beans for the protein (though kale is a great green with a punch of protein).

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Resting
Yummy salad

Friday, July 6, 2012

Needle in My Rear & Fun Facts Friday

Needle in My Rear
I have mentioned my physical therapist suggesting dry needling a few times. I've scheduled and canceled the appointment a few times as well. I really really don't like needles. I can tell you the number of shots I've had in the past 10 years even. But, the pain from my piriformis and gluteus medius area is severe enough that I really knew I needed to give it a try.

I did happen to talk with a local (badass) runner who had just happened to have had it done the same morning we were talking. After just one treatment that morning, she noticed a difference. She also told me a little more of what to expect which is nice to hear rather than just read.

So, yesterday I went for it. I did my best to just breathe and stay relaxed. I had visions of me jerking and causing permanent glute damage somehow. When he inserted the needle into the triggerpoint, I felt just the tiniest prick. I thought that was probably the worst of it. I knew that he would manipulate the needle to trigger the muscle response that is causing the pain, thus I'd experience the pain I've been feeling.

But to feel a needle actually hitting the muscle, um, not so pleasant. I really have no words to describe how it felt. Very strange sensation. It hurt, but more of an ache, but not quite the same ache that I get from sitting or when sleeping. More shooting, but not excruciating by any means.

Once he stopped manipulating the needle, my muscle were twitching and jumping, and then the deep ache I'm familiar with did set in. He left the needle in and put a heat lamp  (can't remember if it was infrared or what, I was trying to breathe and relax when he told me) and left the room for about 5 minutes or so.

Then it was over. He removed the needle (that hurt more than the insertion) and said I was done. He did re-check my rotation strength, which was embarrassingly weak at my last visit. And surprisingly, it was quite different this time. In fact, there wasn't a huge difference between my right and left side now. Crazy right?

I was definitely achy for the next several hours, more like I'd been hit in that spot rather than the pain I'm used to. I actually was able to sleep through the night with no piriformis or glute pain. This was something new. The big test was going to be my long run.

Fighting for 10
I guess that brings me nicely into this morning's long run. Jason and I got up just after 5. It was already a nice, humid 80 degrees out. The first mile was a slow one. I think we were both still asleep. In fact, we didn't speak until just shy of 2 miles.

As we did last week, we headed towards the river. What's nice about this is that it's a gradual decent. Gotta love that...until you have to do the return part of course. We made our way through the River Market area, down along the river, across a bridge and back (holy hills, lots of cursing and I actually told Jason at one point I was having an out of body experience), we made our way by the Heifer International Building, somehow managing to hit more hills again, then started to wind our way back home.

I felt pretty good, despite the hills starting to kick my butt, up to mile 8. Then the breakdown started happening. My piriformis/glute started to get really achy, which hasn't happened during my runs in a while, the energy spent on the hills along with the heat was definitely zapping me. And of course we had to contend with a constant, gradual ascent to get back home.

I was sweating so much that my shorts were pretty much glued to me. Jason said it looked like I had just jumped in the pool. And it felt that way minus the refreshing cold water part. Even the sprinklers I did go through weren't cool at all. But at least it wasn't sweat.

I will admit that I stopped at 9.5 miles. I thought I was done. And I was ticked at myself. I told Jason I felt like I was failing somehow because I just couldn't get to 10. He suggested jogging easy for a few minutes. So I did. And I finished 10. It wasn't fast. It wasn't all that pretty, but I got it done.

I think this quote pretty much sums it up. Even when I was saying "I can't" quite clearly I could.

Fun Facts Friday - Random Thoughts
I thought that I might have a plethora of ideas for Fun Facts Friday after yesterday's dry needling appointment. I mean, surely that's some funny shit when you think about it - willingly going in to have a needle stuck in your butt. Sounds like a great time huh?

But, I was so concerned with the pain and breathing and relaxing, that I didn't quite find as much humor in the situation as I had thought I might. So how about some totally random thoughts from the dry needling and the morning run?

  • You know you're desperate when you willingly let someone stick you with a long needle on the mere premise that it'll help.
  • At some point you no longer care how many people see your rear end. 
  • Your perception of what hurts changes tremendously when you've been injured. 
  • I hate running over bridges and am convinced Jason loves them and purposely wanted to run over this particular bridge out of shear meanness. 
  • Never forget that when your run starts downhill and you're doing an out and back, you will have to run up hill and it shouldn't surprise you every single flipping time. 
  • Bananas are not good when they start to come back up.
  • I am certain I get runner's amnesia otherwise I wouldn't look forward to running again so soon after a tough run. 
  • I love sprinklers.
So, what are some totally random thoughts from you today? I'll take anything. Would you ever try dry needling or have you tried it? 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
It's Friday
Morning run
Relaxing evening