Friday, August 31, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Very Inspiring Blogger Award



Recently, Angela at Happy Fit Mama  passed along the Very Inspiring Blogger Award to me. And I thought it'd be perfect for Fun Facts Friday.

Thank you so much Angela. I think you're incredibly inspiring!

The Rules:
  • Display the award logo somewhere on your blog. 
  • Link back to the blog who nominated you. 
  • State 7 things about yourself. 
  • Nominate 15 (or less) other bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.
  • Notify those bloggers that they have been nominated and of the award’s requirements. 

7 Random Things About Me

1.  While I love the beach, the ocean, the waves, I don't actually enjoy getting into the water. I prefer to sit back with my toes in the sand and just listen and watch. I'll wade out no farther than my knees. When I was a kid, I did actually get in and play, swim, ride the waves on rafts. But now I know there are "things" in the water.



2.  I've mentioned before that I'm a total klutz, but I also did ballet for more than 20 years. The two don't seem to go together really. I only had one major fall during a class, and never on stage. We were rehearsing a new piece that included a sequence of developes (think leg to ear en pointe) then turns.

I never could get my leg nearly has high as I wanted, but man I wanted to dance this piece during a performance. Instead I landed flat on my stomach. Luckily only a severely bruised ego. Needless to  say, I danced a different piece.

Source: anonym.to via Rene on Pinterest

3.  I guess there was another ballet related mishap in the 7th grade, only not really in class. I was trying to teach a friend pointe. I had a barre at my house, downstairs. We decided to get lunch - leftover pizza and a large glass of soda.

Still in pointe shoes I was walking down the stairs with plate in one hand, glass in the other. I slipped and landed flat on my tailbone, but saved the food and drink. Broken tailbone - and couldn't sit or stand easily for about 2 years.


4.  I am a fairly picky eater, but I have gotten better. Jason says I'm not vegetarian, I'm just picky. So I get really annoyed when someone questions why I don't want the single vegetarian item on a menu. Just because it's meat-free doesn't automatically mean it appeals to me - especially when it's nothing but a pile of avocados and cucumbers with a side of melons. 

5.  I wouldn't call myself a hoarder by any means, but I do have a hard time letting go of things, even clothes. I tend to attach memories to almost everything. For example, I had this small wicker container that had a pink rose on it with lace and such. I kept it until just a few months ago.

I had bought one and my friend (who passed away) bought one with a different rose color. We got them when she was at Houston Ballet's summer camp and I had ridden down there with her mom to visit, probably 13 years old. And in it, I had random things like the foil-covered penny I wore in my shoe for good luck during my first cheerleading tryouts. 

6.  I worked for a bookstore for 5 years (full-time paying for college) and have a weird obsession with hardback books. I love to read, but will only buy hardbacks. Needless to say, my stash of books looks more like a library. I finally had to box some up to store because they were just stacked nearly waist-high in the study. 

7.  I can wiggle my ears. Ok, so it's really just sort of a back to front motion vs true wiggle, but still.

Your turn - random fact time!

Now I have to do the hard part and pass along the award. I say hard because it really is hard to just choose a few bloggers. I think you all deserve the award. 

Jennifer at Running with the Girls 
Kristina at Spabettie 
Laura at Mommy Run Fast 
Heather at Mile 26 and More



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hitting the Wall & Spaghetti Squash and "Meatballs"

Nightmare Run
Well, today one of my bigger running fears happened. I didn't just hit a wall (or 2), but I did it with my new running buddy. It's honestly one of the reasons I've shied away from running with others. It's one thing for me to have a running temper tantrum with Jason or alone, but with someone else...

The deck was really stacked against me, and I knew it too. My legs and feet had already traveled 13.5 miles over a 2-day period. Thursday is typically a rest day so that I can be fresh (mentally and physically) for my long run on Fridays. 

However, Hurricane Isaac is about to cause us some headaches with regards to the weather. So, unless I wanted to swim my long run on Friday, I needed to try to go for it today.

So, tired legs (and feet), 26 mph gusting winds (coming from the swirling remnants of the hurricane), and 77 degrees with high humidity all add up to potential disaster. And it didn't help that my first 5 miles were entirely too fast. I think the fact that it was completely dark out, made me just a tad more nervous and I ran just a tad bit faster. In fact, mile 5 was an 8:34. Let's just say I was running out of gas quickly.

I met up with "A" at mile 5 and warned her that I was really out of sorts. I suggested we take the path of least resistance, in other words, as few hills as we could manage. She had actually ended up waking up early and decided to get in 4 before I got to her house at 6:15. 

We took off mostly flat, then some down, then some up, then some flat. It wasn't horrible, but I just felt my legs slowing down like I was running through thickening cement. The thick air was making breathing much more labored as well. 

All I can say is that I am so glad that "A" kept chatting away because it did help me stay out of my head. Well, I was all up in my head, but her company helped me more than if I had been on my own I think. 

But, I was fairly embarrassed to be bonking like that. I know it happens. But I was holding her back of course. I certainly couldn't have been exactly pleasant to be running next to either. But she stuck with me regardless. We hit my house at mile 8.75 for me, and I told her I just couldn't keep going. 

She was going to shoot for 10 (totally unplanned). And if I hadn't have been such a mess, then we could have gone a slightly different route making it easier for her to get to 10 by the time she got home. Again, another reason I felt bad.

She continued on and I paced up and down the block to try to cool down. I realized I was at 8.75 miles and I was ticked at myself. So after I was sort of calmed down, I decided to go for it. I made a very slow loop around and ended at 9.5 miles - mostly because I'm stubborn as hell. 

What is your biggest running fear? Do you worry about hitting a wall with a running buddy? What do you do when you hit the wall or totally bonk?

Despite the crappy run, I did enjoy having company. I also enjoyed knowing I was on a virtual sherpa run again with Jo who hit double digits today. AND we were running in celebration of Melissa's big 3-0 birthday!
 
Lazy Dinner
Tonight was a very dreary, rainy evening. I decided to make a "quick" spaghetti sauce. In other words, not the family recipe that ends up taking 5+ hours. I picked up some spaghetti squash and used that in lieu of pasta.

Rather than make my own, I did take the lazy way out for "Meatballs" using LiteLife GimmeLean. Normally I prefer to keep processed foods to a minimum, but sometimes I'm lazy. Today, I was lazy. 
Sometimes, I'm ok with being lazy ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Run (on the fence with that one)
Comforting dinner
Rainy, relaxing evening
Having long run done
Running buddies

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Savoring the Moment with Fajita Tempeh Burger

Speed Work
I sure wish I could brag about some awesome speed work this morning. I guess I can brag that I actually did 5 x 800's and didn't die. That's brag-worthy right ;-)

The temperatures were probably 10+ degrees warmer than last Wednesday and the air was just strange. It was humid, but not extreme. But still dampish or restricting feeling. Not sure how to even describe it.

There was a fairly heavy, or maybe I should say steady, wind as well. And it was odd, because I'm a major sweater (and so is "A"), but neither of us was sweating like it seemed we should. Maybe that wind dried us off faster than we realized.

Anyway, things just felt off. "A" even said she wasn't exactly feeling it. I was definitely a lot slower than last week. It felt so much harder - kind of like yesterday did.

But my splits were at least very consistent even up to the 5th one. I managed to maintain somewhere between a 3:48-3:50 pace for each 1/2 mile interval (roughly a 7:40 min mile if sustained that long).

So, I ended up with 6 miles in all and was very thankful to have some good company again to get me through. It's amazing how much chatting we still manage to cram in between intervals.

New Recipe
I've been feeling a little less than enthusiastic about cooking recently. I know it's just overall fatigue. Work is pretty hectic, and the early morning runs start to catch up with me. So Hump Day ends up being more like Humph day.

I thought I might end up making stir fry tonight, frozen veggie style even. But then I saw the most amazing looking and sounding recipe for Fajita Burgers from Carrian at Sweet Basil.

We love fajitas at our house. I usually make them with either tempeh or seitan. So I decided to see if I could come up with a vegan Fajita Tempeh Burger. I've never used tempeh for burgers, but figured it would be similar to TVP, which I used to use when I first started making my own veggie burgers.

I decided to try poaching grated tempeh to infuse it with as much flavor and moisture as possible, then use beans and chia eggs as binders.

Fajita Tempeh Burgers
Ingredients:
Burgers
1 package tempeh, grated
2/3 cup water
1 vegan "beef" bouillon cube
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 white onion, minced
To taste: salt, black pepper, cumin powder, chili powder, ground red pepper
Liquid smoke - optional and to taste
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp warm water)
Oat flour, to desired consistency
Seasonings: use same seasonings as used for poaching the tempeh

Fajita Veggie Topper
red bell pepper, thinly sliced
green bell pepper, thinly sliced
white onion, thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
To taste: salt, pepper, cumin

Optional Toppings
Daiya vegan cheese (or cheese of choice)
Jalapenos

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dislove bouillon cube in hot water.

In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic for a couple of minutes then add in the tempeh, broth, and seasonings.

Allow to simmer on low until liquid cooks out.

Place the tempeh with any onions and garlic from the pan into a food processor along with the remaining ingredients up to the chia egg. Pulse until mostly smooth but still has some texture.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add in the seasonings, chia egg, and flour. Mix thoroughly until the mixture becomes stiff enough to shape into patties, adding additional flour as needed.

Form into patties and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes then flip and bake an additional 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, saute the onions, peppers, and garlic in a large non-stick skillet with seasonings.


So while I initially didn't feel up to cooking, saw it as a major task, I decided to follow some wise advice. Lisa from Thrive Style had an awesome post recently Enjoying Doing the Dishes.

Basically, it's some sage advice to stop rushing, to take the time and enjoy the moments even the chores. They become less like "chores" when you take time to savor the moment.

Do you remember to enjoy doing the dishes or do you often just see the day-to-day tasks of life as chores?

Daily To-Enjoy List
Morning run
New recipe
Enjoying the moment

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hello Humidity & Portobello Tempeh Salad

Anniversary Dinner
I just wanted to start by thanking everyone for your kind words, comments, and anniversary wishes for our 12-year wedding anniversary yesterday. We hadn't planned on doing anything super special. It's hard to plan that way on a Monday.

We had talked about lunch, but then ended up deciding on a last-minute nice dinner at a restaurant downtown called Lulav. We've gone there many times over the years for anniversary dinners. They have changed up their menu quite a bit, however, and there are some options that I miss, particularly one specific salad.

They do have a fantastic house salad with a lemoncello vinaigrette. Jason ordered their wild mushroom appetizer. He ended up getting a paella for dinner and I went with their only vegetarian option, rotini with squash and wild mushrooms. I did request a red sauce over the creamy butter wine sauce that it was supposed to have come with.

No dessert. We were stuffed. I suppose the wine we had counts as a treat though right?

Humidity's Back
This morning I woke up just after 5 with 7 miles planned. I was expecting slightly cooler temperatures, I guess I've gotten spoiled for 65 degrees recently. I was smacked in the face with 78 degrees and humidity that made you wish you had gills.

I got in about 2.5 miles before meeting up with my running buddy. Then we continued on together giving me 7.5 miles and by the time she made it back to her house, it was a solid 7 for her.

Today was definitely more of a struggle than recent runs have been. My legs started feeling incredibly heavy, the humidity was no joke, and I was dripping with sweat. It was really nice having "A" there to help keep me distracted from the unpleasantness of it all.

Today she was my literal running sherpa and I also knew I had several other virtual sherpas (Jess, Jo, Dorry, Lindsay, Sarena, Kristina) rooting me on as they were out on their morning runs as well.

Tempeh Tuesday
I almost went with Taco Tuesday tonight, but wanted something much lighter after last night's heavier dinner. We went to the store during lunch, and Jason had picked up some really nice looking portobello mushrooms. So I decided to use those for a salad - Portobello and Tempeh Salad with Creamy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce*.

(* For this batch of sauce, I used veganaise and more almond milk in lieu of the silken tofu to make for a much looser sauce and I also added in the bits of cooked down onions and garlic from poaching the tempeh.)

I poached the tempeh in no-sodium vegetable broth, minced red onion, minced garlic, thyme, black pepper, and salt. I like tempeh, but sometimes it can be bland. So I decided to poach it before baking it to try to infuse more flavor and keep it moist.
 
After the tempeh had been poached (basically until most of the liquid cooked down), I roasted the tempeh with the portobellos. I had some jarred roasted red bell peppers and some rehydrated sundried tomatoes that I added to the top along with goat cheese and the Creamy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Sherpas
Easy dinner
Relaxing

Monday, August 27, 2012

12 Years

12 years ago, I married probably the only man on earth who can possibly put up with me.

And while we've had our ups and downs, all relationships do, the good far outweighs any of the bad.
I am blessed every day and am sorry I don't say it enough. I love you Jason. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

11 Miles & Fun Facts Friday - Food Memories

11 Miles Strong
Yep, it was long-run Friday again for me. And it was a solo-long run too. Oh, and super dark out. It's not starting to get light until closer to 6:20 these days. But, running under the stars can be incredibly peaceful I must say.

I headed out with a random route in my head. I knew I wanted to get back near the house around mile 6 so I could refill my water bottle and take my GU. Sometimes not having a set, defined route can be good. I was just running. Just running and enjoying the "me" time.

Mile 6 did in fact take me right at my house. Perfect timing. I took my GU got more water and was off again. I was feeling really great. My legs were just trucking right along. My breathing felt so much better today as well. Everything clicking.

I was a little worried about my pace though. I had been going by feel and that was keeping me right at a 9 min/mile. I always think that's too fast for what's supposed to be a slow, long run. But I really felt great. My heart rate never felt terribly high, with the exception of hills of course. So I decided to just keep going with it. Run by feel and not hold myself back.

And you know what happened? 11 fantastic miles with an average 9:04 pace.

I don't know if it's the fact that it's not 85 degrees for my long run or the recent speed work, or maybe both. But I am shocked and pleased at that pace. Let's just say I was floating on a very nice runner's high the rest of the day.

Fun Facts Friday - Food Memories
SpaBettie's recent post for Zucchini Bread French Toast got me reminiscing about foods I associate with my childhood. It's funny how strongly you can associate smells to memories, and those smells might come from foods you remember being prepared.

The smell of green bell peppers still elicits a strong reaction. I can't stand the smell to be honest, and I hated them as a child. I only eat them cooked. But I remember very vividly, my grandmother chopping them up.

And the smell of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove is like a piece of childhood. Not just the smell but the warmth it creates in the kitchen from the steam as it simmers is like a big hug.

So I thought it'd be fun to do a post of some foods that bring me back to my childhood, foods or recipes that have strong memories associated with them. So let's take a trip down memory lane...

French Toast - The first time I had it was when I stayed the night with a friend. She covered it in powdered sugar and syrup, and I thought it was heaven on a plate. I learned to cook it and made it all the time for my sister and myself.

Little Debbie Jelly Rolls - Oh I loved pulling off the layer of white chocolate from the bottom before taking my first bite. I will forever think of my grandmother when I see them.

Egg Salad Sandwiches - Oh that smell....worst smell but best invention ever (or so I thought as a kid). It was one of the only ways I'd eat eggs. And it had to be smooshed on white bread of course. This was something else I'd make for my sister and myself.

Bologna Sandwiches - Sounds just like something I'd eat right? As a kid, I loved bologna on white bread with tons of mustard and pickles. My how times have changed.

Apple Jacks - I could seriously eat an entire box by myself not minding a bit that the roof of my mouth was torn to bits. They remind me of weekends spent at my dad's house. He kind of indulged us a bit. And of course I never complained.

Cheetos - Oh how I loved my Cheetos. The cheesy fingers, the crunch, and even better with a piece of the chocolate outer layer of a Little Debbie Swiss Roll.

Peach Cobbler - I never cared for cakes, but man I liked a good fruit cobbler or pie. When I think of cobblers I think of this one particular restaurant that we would very rarely go to that was nothing but a HUGE buffet. But I always saved room for the cobber. And it also reminds me of some amazing Healthy Bites my dear friend Lindsay made last summer. At least those were healthy ;-)

My good friend Jessica has been doing a Foodie Friday post. So if you're looking for more Friday Foods, you should go check it out! She's talking about fuel for running, which happens to include Healthy Bites. Yum.

What food memories do you have?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Speed Work for Winesday

Speed Work
Apparently Wednesdays are now becoming speed work days for me. This is only because my new running pal "A" somehow talked me into it. Of course, I do need to add in speed work and it's easier to do when you have a partner in crime to hold you accountable.

So, this morning I did a one-mile warmup run over to "A's" house where she has a set route for 800's (1/2 mile intervals). The plan was to do 4 intervals with roughly a 1/4 mile jog/recovery. The first interval kind of sucked.

It was still completely dark so that made it a little treacherous. Plus, that first interval is a major shock to the system. Oh, and this time the first interval included the uphill rather than downhill direction.

I have no idea what my split was on the first one. Once again I goofed up trying to set the half mile splits. But I finally got it right for the other splits. And I'm pretty sure I will remember for the next speed workout (fingers crossed).

My 2nd interval was my fastest (unless the first one was but I doubt it) at 3:38. 3rd was up the hill again and it was 3:42. What I thought was my fastest, the last and downhill again, was 3:44. I guess I was just getting fatigued by that point.

At least the sun had finally started to rise so we could see the bumps, lumps, and assorted potholes in the streets. Definitely makes you feel a little more secure with speeding down the street in a propelled free fall motion. So even though the last interval was slower, my splits overall were significantly faster than last week, so I'm pretty pleased actually.

"A" ended up jogging back to my house with me. We just chitchatted, mostly about weight lifting, and it was hard to just stop running. Seriously could have just kept on running and chatting this morning. Of course, another 65-degree morning certainly helped with that urge to keep going as well.

During lunch, I went ahead and did shoulders. I knew it'd be a short and sweet workout. Plus, it helped me destress a little bit. That's always a bonus of mid-day workouts.

Shoulder press - 4 x 6

Lateral raises - 3 x 8

Superset - 3 x 10
Front raise into front pull (couldn't find an example)
Rear-delt press

This turned out to be a really good shoulder workout, and I'm glad I went ahead and got it done. Definitely felt the burn, and gave me a nice boost of energy. I also did some ab exercises as well.

Winesday 
I wish I had something as thoughtful as yesterday's post for you. But,today was a long one. Another 9-hour workday. It's not often I have to do those, but sometimes they're necessary of course. Tight deadlines can be a bitch.

Oh, and, the early morning wake up definitely makes the day feel even longer. Again, I know you don't believe me, but I'm really not a true morning person. I must say I regret not taking all those naps as a child when I had the chance. I firmly believe adults should have nap time. 

Let's just say this happened after work (in my PJs of course). I'm sure I look or sound like a total lush. But it was out of necessity I swear.
Cheers to Winesday!
Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Enjoyable company for speed work
Cooler morning temps
Winesday

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sherpas and Running Partners


If you follow Lindsay at Cotter Crunch, then you've likely heard her mention being a sherpa for her triathlete husband. After reading her initial post on being a sherpa, it changed my idea of what a sherpa was or could be. Technically a sherpa is:

Source
Both meanings imply assistance right? And assistance can come in so many forms and fashions - from literally carrying "thing" for someone or just being there for support. And when you're running or training for a race, you need all the support you can get. And this of course extends into friendships and relationships - surrounding ourselves with positive people.

My friend Jessica at EatDrinkBreatheSweat and her hubby are training for their first full marathon. And over the course of the training, I've mentioned that I'd be running with her virtually. Her sister has also been doing some training miles for support. And Lindsay has been providing Healthy Bites to fuel their run. So we're acting as sherpas. Jess wrote about it after their 16 mile run.

While we aren't noted mountaineers assisting climbers on expeditions nor are officials as siting a government representative, we are runners providing support (either virtually or in real life) to other runners. 

So where am I going with all this rambling about sherpas? Last night I posted on Facebook, just a little message to let Jess and Scott know I was with them in the morning for their huge PDR - 20-mile run. And it snowballed into something so special and spectacular. Absolute, pure support, love, friendship. 


I might not be running next to Jess (or Jolene, Dorry, or Sarena), but I'm running in spirit. She knows I'm thinking about her along the way. And sometimes, that little bit of support can go a long long way mentally. And as runners, shouldn't we unite and be supportive? We're all out there pounding the pavement. And so often we're out there at the same time even. 

How cool is it to think about your friends running as well? To be curious about their weather, their sunrise, the interesting things they might see, or the funny things they think about. Silly sounding? Perhaps, but it makes me smile. 

This morning I was able to run with a running buddy AND run virtually with some amazing friends. It all made me less whiney about an early-morning wakeup call. I knew they were all out there too. So when my alarm went off just after 5, I rolled out of bed and started getting ready.

The plan was that the first 2 miles or so would be solo (except for my virtual running buddies) then I would meet up with "A" to finish another 5 miles. The air felt amazing for a change. It was about 65 degrees and the humidity didn't seem out of control.

It was very very dark though. There were a few times when I had to slow down to try to see where I was stepping even though I know the route like the back of my hand. But dark is dark. So my first mile was about a 9:18 then mile 2 was 8:56 (a better lit stretch).

I didn't check my watch every lap, but there was an 8:43 somewhere along the way. I tried not to panic when I saw 8:16 at one point (not the lap pace, but just a current pace). I can talk myself out of a pace if I want to. 

I felt like I was struggling to breathe today, more labored than it should have been, despite the weather. I did see that there was/is an air quality alert though. So maybe that was the problem. I very rarely feel like I could use my inhaler during a run, but today I think it would have helped. 

But, overall, it was a good run. I didn't feel like I was going to just die on my running partner. I know I slowed her down though, so that helped push me a bit more. Not a bad thing. I ended up with an overall average of an 8:56 pace for 7.3 miles. 

And if you want to know how Jess' run turned out - check out her post and check out Jolene's take on Sherpa-ing.

Do you surround yourself with sherpas? 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Running
Sherpa-ing
Cooler morning temps


Monday, August 20, 2012

Running Rain or Heat & Grilled Veggies with Quinoa

Rainy Run & Cross-Training 
We didn't really have much going on this weekend. No complaints about that really. I woke up Saturday morning ready to run. The weather, however, was not in my favor. It was storming. I kept watching the radar like an obsessed fool trying to figure out when it'd pass.

Finally, around 9:45 the storms were gone and the rain had mostly turned into light sprinkles. I asked Jason if he wanted to go with me. He balked at the idea. Whined that it was raining. But in the end, he headed out with me.

The sprinkles turned into a light rain, but it felt amazing. Very refreshing I must say. My plan was 6 miles and I told him we could loop near the house so he could drop off sooner. He didn't of course. I think the rain added some pep in my step.

We had some really great splits (mile 3 was 8:38, mile for was 8:38). Mile 5 was a little slower (I think it was 8:50) and that was a part of the run where we had to run in some grass and hop over some missing sidewalk - trail running in the city. Mile 6 ended up being an 8:43 (which is what I hope to have for my next half pace) - giving us 6.5 miles with an overall average of 8:51.

I really had to force myself to stop at 6.5 miles. I could have just kept on going to be honest. Of course, Jason was harping on me that he was worried I was running too far the day after my 10-miler. This is from the same person who stopped at 6.5, got water and GU and then took off for another 6 miles.

He didn't run the full long run on Friday because he had planned on a triathlon on Sunday. The weather forecast was calling for storms, so he ended up just decided not to do the race. So, after 6.5 good miles, he suddenly decided to go back and finish out 10, but just sort of kept on going...

My sister ended up coming up for a visit. We did some shopping then had lunch at Pizza Cafe on the patio. She decided to go back home, unfortunately. We did end up heading over to our friend's house to chill on their patio for a while. Very relaxing way to spend the day of course.

Yesterday I decided to cross train rather than run. I really wanted to run (and the storms predicted did not happen, it was gorgeous), but my plantar fasciitis is starting to kick back in. So, as reluctant as I was to do something else, I went ahead and did back and legs and some kickboxing. It ended up being a better workout than expected considering I didn't want to do it to start with.

The weather was wonderful, so I sat out on the patio and read for a few hours while Jason went to the movies with a friend. Then we decided to have a late lunch on Dugan's patio before gluing our butts to the couch the rest of the evening.

We ended up watching the Hunger Games. It was so hard to watch it and not pick it apart after reading the book of course. But, we both thought it was a good movie. And, for those who think I never take the easy way out for dinner...we had popcorn!

Monday Weights & Unplanned Run
I'm still liking the most recent weight set up I've been doing. So, I stuck with it again. There are some days when I'm not completely sure it's effective, but then others when I definitely feel it. I thought I should give it another week or so before discounting it.

I went with a similar set up as I've been doing for biceps and triceps. I did, however, switch up the exercises just a bit. So instead of lying extensions, I moved the kickbacks to that set and went to weighted dips for the 3rd set. I subbed preacher curls for regular dumbbell curls.

SS#1 - 4 x 6
Alternating curls
Double-arm overhead triceps extensions

SS#2 - 3 x 8
Hammer curls
Double-arm kickbacks

SS#3 - 3 x 10
Preacher curls
Weighted dips

It really felt like a good workout today. I think just changing a few exercises can shake it up again. 

By the time I left work, I had the running bug creeping up on me. I had no plans to run today. But the temps were about 85 degrees, it was cloudy, and the humidity was only 39%. But I didn't really need to run. I'm a planner, and this wasn't on the radar.

But I found myself walking in the door and going straight to my running gear. It wasn't exactly cool out by any means, but it wasn't 100 degrees either. So I just went with it. I did an unplanned 3 mile run.

I went the easiest, least hilly route I could think of. I just ran by feel, not paying attention to my speed. It was just a perfectly freeing kind of run. It was just what I truly needed today.




So while I normally am a major planner when it comes to my workouts (even planning in options), sometimes you have to go with your gut. Are you a planner or do you wing it?  
Grilling Weather
Since the weather is so much more pleasant (90 degrees with lower humidity), grilling sounded like a good option. It's much more enjoyable to grill out when it's not 100+ degrees. And it means enjoying the patio and just relaxing, but not in front of a tv or cooped up inside.

It's Monday and I didn't want complicated or time-consuming. I have a tendency to let my cooking get out of control sometimes. But this was easy and fast. 

I grilled up zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and baby potatoes that I had marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette. I served it all over some quinoa (pulled out from the freezer) with my Creamy Roasted Red Bell Pepper sauce on top. 
Super simple. But very satisfying. Perfect for a Monday night meal if you ask me.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Weight workout
Unplanned run
Grilling out
Relaxing evening

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Recipes to Try

Long Run
Yesterday was one of those days when you just need it to go away. I ditched my planned workout. I was simply exhausted both mentally and physically. I needed to rest plain and simple. I didn't blog because I didn't figure anyone really needed to hear me whine about being stressed, worn out, too tired to workout, or that it has felt like the longest week ever.

So, no blogging. In fact, I turned off the computer at 7 pm. I had only been on it a few times after work anyway and was just done with it. It was really nice to turn that baby off too. I went to bed around 7:45 and read until 9, then it was lights out.

I woke up, startled by the alarm, just before 5 am. I definitely felt better having rested. Smart decision before a planned 10 mile run honestly.

Jason is doing a triathlon on Sunday, so the plan was for him to only run half the run with me. We planned out (roughly) a route that would put us back near the house around 5 miles in for me so that he could stop, and I could refill my water and take my GU.

It ended up being 5.4 miles. Mentally that was nice. I "only" had 4.6 miles left. Sounds much less daunting doesn't it? I decided to take a different route towards the river since I was running solo at that point. It can be nice changing up the scenery.

The only awkwardness was passing a male co-worker (I ran near my office) while I was clad in a sports bra and shorts. Apparently I don't mind showing hundreds of random strangers passing by in their cars or walking around my stomach, but a co-worker? Totally different.

The run felt really good for the most part. I did go out faster than I should have for the first half (closer to a 9 min mile) so I did start to fatigue by miles 7 and 8 and then of course that's the point where I have to start heading back up towards my house. But, I did manage to finish my last mile at a 9:13 pace so that felt pretty darn good.

I did have one lesson learned - find a new way to carry mace for 10 miles because it will indeed rub you raw.

Fun Facts Friday - Recipes to Try
I haven't been as hungry this week as I feel I should be. It might just be stress related. And don't worry, I'm still eating. I just don't feel like I want to. But, I believe in fueling the body. I know it helps with fatigue, with workouts, with mood. So, while my appetite seems to be taking a vacation, my eyes have not.

What I mean is, I keep seeing a host of amazingly delicious looking recipes that I must try out. I don't usually follow recipes. But these, these I need to make. I wish I could show you the photos, but you just need to go check them out yourself. Trust me, you'll thank me later!

Vegan "Goat" Cheese - Spabettie

Grilled Peach, Chicken & Goat Cheese Salad with Honey White Balsamic Dressing Eat, Live, Run (I can easily veganize this one)

Cinnamon Sugar Chocolate Pretzels Averie Cooks (I know this is based on my pretzel craving and they look too cute)

Sweet Potato Puffs - Lean Green Bean

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Parfait - The Non-Dairy Queen

Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing - Two Peas and Their Pod

Vegan Protein Waffles - Pure 2 Raw

So, what recipes are you itching to make right now? Do you have an ever-growing list? Are you a recipe-follower or do you just browse them for ideas? 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Friday
Relaxing evening

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Speed Work & Chili But Not Chilly

Speedwork
This morning I psyched myself up for some long overdue and much needed speedwork. My new running partner has a fairly flat route that she has mapped out near her house to do 800's. So the plan was to do a little over a mile over to her house then 4 x 800 with 1/4 mile recovery jogs in between then I had a mile back to my house.

While speedwork can be really intimidating (much like HIIT or Tabata in my mind), it goes by pretty fast. So you just need to focus and sustain for that one interval, recover and start again. Once you get going, you don't really have time to dwell on your lungs exploding or legs crumbling beneath you. You just do it.

It was definitely warmer and more humid today. Thankfully "A" sweats like I do so I wasn't embarrassed to be slinging sweat as I ran ;-) Of course we didn't run side-by-side during the speed intervals, but that's ok. It's about working at your own pace of course.

My goal was to try to keep my 800's in the 8:15-8:30 min/mile range. It's been so long since I've done 800's that I thought that was a more attainable goal for me. I tried to remember back to previous training plans. I know that there was a time when I could do 800's maintaining a 7:50 pace. I know older plans had me starting off slower for the first few weeks of speed and gradually increasing pace. So I just went with that. In other words, made it up.

I don't usually use my Garmin for speedwork (oh wait, I don't normally do speedwork) so I didn't lap everything correctly. In fact, for one of the laps the timer was never on so that one didn't even show the miles. But I think for the most part I maintained my goal pace for each lap.

I would try to glance at my speed as I was running (not highly recommended by the way) and I noticed I was falling anywhere between a 7:43 and an 8:15. So I "think" I was on track. There were a few 6:40's in there, of course not for long, usually right when I started then I'd end up slowing down some.

Oh and the one little hill "A" described when we did the route backwards....um.....definitely didn't feel so little! But, it's good practice and definitely more closely simulates a real race where you do have hills, turns, potholes and such.

So, 5 miles done and I felt awesome. Very accomplished and perhaps a bit of a runner's high going on.

Do you get intimidated by workouts like speed drills or HIIT/Tabata sessions? I think I would be absolutely intimidated by a CrossFit workout. 

Weights & Chili
I ended up working through lunch today and leaving a little earlier. This gave me plenty of time to do my weights without rushing. Or that was the plan. I had planned on the same workout for Back, Shoulders, Chest as last week. However, I just felt wiped out.

But, I skipped legs on Tuesday and really wanted to at least get shoulders done. So I went with a Plan B version of a workout.

TS#1 - 4 x 6
Goblet squats
Overhead shoulder press

TS#2 - 3 x 8
Stiff-legged deadlifts
Lateral raises

TS#3 - 3 x 10
Courtesy lunges
Front raises

I also added in ab work and then spent some time stretching and rolling on my Triggerpoint Therapy Kit. Honestly, once I got going, I was really into the workout. Of course, I knew it was going to be a short one so definitely no intimidation factor.


I was feeling pretty uninspired when it came to dinner. Jason suggest chili, so I just went with that option. One-pot-meals always make for an easy dinner with minimal cleanup. So, it might not truly be chili weather, but we could turn on a fan.

I ended up going with our fairly standard Chipotle Tempeh Chili. The only change I made was that I used white beans as I was out of red.
 
As usually, it's topped with lots of melty, gooey Daiya Vegan Cheese. And it might not be fall (or anywhere close), but this certainly seemed like the perfect dinner tonight.

Are there any cold-weather dishes you've been craving this summer? Do you make them anyway, despite the heat?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Cooler temps
Chili
Relaxing evening

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Run Dates & Salad Night

Run Dates
This morning Jason and I rolled out of bed and got ourselves ready for a run. The plan was to do 2 miles with Jason, then I was meeting a new running partner for another 5 miles for a total of 7 miles.

I won't lie, I was pretty nervous about running with someone new. And "A" is definitely a fast runner, and a seasoned marathoner. But that can be good for me right? It's sort of a long story, but she used to teach some weight circuit classes at my gym that closed.

So we'd seen each other here and there at the gym in passing. Another instructor had mentioned that "A" lived downtown. And I already knew that she ran (overheard a conversation), and I'd see her occasionally running, but we never really talked.

Anyway, Saturday I ended making a stop by her house so we could visit, and we planned the run date for today. She usually just runs the neighborhood solo, so she was excited to have someone to run with, and I think Jason likes the idea of me having another running partner too ;-)

I have only run with a running group twice, and two other people other than Jason or just solo plain and simple. I knew we'd be going faster and I knew we'd be tackling some bridges. So I was nervous. I didn't want to slow her down too much or embarrass myself with a horrid run. I just pictured myself having a meltdown or just struggling the entire way to keep up. But, I didn't.

We definitely ran faster for the majority of the run than I normally would have for a 7-miler (8:43-8:50 min mile), but it was good. It pushed me, which is something I needed. But we were so busy chatting and visiting that I really barely noticed. Time flew by and it was over before I knew it.

It was so tempting to just keep on going just so we could visit longer. And, of course, the weather certainly helped. It was probably about 68 or 69 degrees with a light breeze.

So, morning run dates were a success. Now I just dread the temperatures going back up. We all know they will. This is just a teaser.

Do you get nervous when you workout with someone new for the first time? Do you prefer to run or train with others or are you a solo exerciser?

I sort of oscillate on this one. I do enjoy group spin or step classes, but prefer to lift alone. And running...sometimes all I want/need is to run alone. I love that time to myself to just "be." But at the same time, it's really nice to have a partner. Someone to help you get through rough patches, someone to chitchat with here and there, just someone at your side.

I was planning to do legs at lunch, but my legs were definitely more tired from this harder run. So, I decided to give it a rest. No need in pushing myself for no reason and having a potentially bad weight workout.

Salad Night
It was a 9-hour day at work today. So skipping the extra workout was probably even smarter than I initially realized. I got home and spent a little time stretching and rolling out. Probably should have spent longer, but I was getting hungry and needed to get dinner going.

Being that it was a long day (including the 5:30 am run), it's safe to say I didn't really want to spend much time on dinner. Thankfully we had plenty of veggies and some kale that I could just roast up for a quick salad.

I roasted kale as well as squash, zucchini, and beets. I had some jarred roasted red bell peppers that I cut up to add into the mix as well as some cannellini beans. I took the lazy way out with dressing this time and went with Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette.

At least it was a super veggie friendly dinner that was easy, healthy, and hearty. 

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Cooler temps
Good conversation
Easy dinner

Monday, August 13, 2012

Relishing the Weekend & Creamy Wild Mushroom Rice Recipe

Running, Relaxing, Relishing
This weekend as another fairly low-key one for us. Saturday I got up for my 6 mile run. The temps were just under 70 degrees. The humidity was still in play, but man at least it wasn't 80+ degrees. Made such a difference.

It ended up being a really good run. I tried to just run by feel rather than paying attention to my pace. I only checked the speed at each lap/mile. Overall average ended up being 9:04.

After scrubbing the master bath, I spent some time on the patio reading before we went to a late lunch. We were actually able to sit outside on the patio and enjoy outdoor dining for the first time in months! The temperatures were hovering around 90, but there was a nice breeze. And face it, 90 feels like 70 when it's been 110.

We had just finished our lunch when I got a message from our friends. They wanted to meet us exactly where we already were. I told her we were there and done with lunch but would gladly stick around and wait on them. So we hung around and visited for a bit (they just got back from vacation). Perfect afternoon.

Sunday I planned on 4 miles, but the weather was just too fantastic. My legs felt great and I just couldn't resist. I ended up with 5 really solid miles. Again, just going by feel and put me at a 9:02 overall average. I did finish my last mile strong at 8:50. Not bad not bad.

And it also is a little bit of proof that perhaps the weather really has been part of the problem. Duh right? I was honestly worried that when I did get to run in cooler weather (it was about 70 degrees) that I might still be struggling and that the problem was way more than temperatures.

I was more productive Sunday and managed to wash laundry, sweep, dust, and wash my car (and of course it rained this morning). I also spent more time on the patio reading. So it was a perfect combination of productivity and relaxation. I really do believe it's important to relish the weekends and it's not always about attending tons of events, or even being super productive. Just enjoy the moments.

Weights & Cross-Training
Mondays have become a no-run day for me. Definitely a needed break actually. My Monday I'm missing my weight workouts and my legs are calling for a break. Today I went with the same set up for biceps and triceps as last week - with the exception of adding one additional set to the 3rd superset.

SS#1 - 4 x 6
Alternating curls
Double-arm overhead triceps extensions

SS#2 - 3 x 8
Hammer curls
Lying triceps extensions

SS#3 - 3 x 10
Preacher curls
Double-arm kickbacks

It was a pretty good weight workout. I wasn't just super excited to do it at first, but ended up feeling strong. I increased the double-arm overhead triceps by 5# today.

After work I decided to get in a little cardio cross-training. I have to remember to do something other than run. I love my boxing and kickboxing workouts but I kind of know them backwards, frontwards, and every other whichwards.

I decided to pull out a Cathe workout I've not done in a while - Cardio Core Circuit. I actually just do the premix for the cardio drills only. It's about 35 minutes of intervals and it's a no-joke, no-nonsense workout. Funny how something as simple looking as squat digs can add up to a butt-kicking ;-)

Tonight I'm just making an easy stir fry for dinner, even using frozen veggies. So rather than bore you with that, I'll actually share a recipe I made last week that I thought you might like. 

Creamy Wild Mushroom Rice
Ingredients:
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 large portobello mushroom, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
Unsalted vegetable broth - 1/2 cup + (may need to add more)
Dried wild mushroom - approximately 1/4 cup or as much as you prefer
To taste: salt, pepper
1/2 package silken tofu (firm or soft)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
To taste: salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Unsalted vegetable broth to consistency
1/3 cup rehydrated sundried tomatoes, diced
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 1/2 portobello, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
To taste: salt, black pepper
1 cup brown rice 2 cups water

Directions:
Prepare brown rice per package directions.

In a small sauce pan, saute onion and garlic approximately 4 minutes then add in the diced portobello mushrooms. Allow the portobellos to soften, approximately 5 minutes, then add in broth, salt, pepper, and the dried mushrooms. Allow to simmer and cook down until the liquid thickens and is about half the amount you started with.

Once the mushrooms have cooked down, in a food processor, combine the tofu, nutritional yeast, vinegars, seasonings, lemon juice, and the mushrooms with liquid. Pulse then add in additional broth to desired consistency. You will want it to loosen up but  not runny.

In a medium skillet, saute the remaining portobellos and onions with garlic, salt and pepper until soft.

Stir in the tofu mixture with the rice and add in the spinach and sundried tomatoes. Re-season if needed. Top with the sauteed onions and mushrooms.

Jason likened it to a risotto minus the hassle of standing and stirring. I think it has a comfort-food feel to it too.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Easy dinner
Weight workout
Relaxing evening

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - All About Energy

This morning the alarm went off way too early for my liking. I had a very restless night, something I've noticed happening the night before my long runs. So when the alarm went off, I was already awake, but just didn't want to get up.

But I did. I rolled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom to get ready. It does help that I set out all of my running gear the night before so there's not thinking involved. I went downstairs and had half of a banana and a serving (12) EnergyBits.
I was fortunate enough to receive a sample of EnergyBits to try and review. They are made from algae (spirulina and chlorella) and are full of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. According to their website, "Spirulina is nature's equivalent to an energy drink." 

Some benefits of spirulina are:
  • Helps stop fatigue
  • Helps improve athletic performance
  • Provides physical energy
  • Provides mental wake up
And you know what, I believe it. Especially the mental wake up and the energy. 
Source

I tried EnergyBits Tuesday before my leg workout. Honestly, I didn't really feel any more energized for that workout. However, I tried them again Wednesday morning and again today. And I truly do believe that they provided me with more alertness. 

I felt very much awake, clear-headed, energized. I wasn't groggy from waking up so early and heading straight out for a run. It was like I had been awake for a few hours actually - but very different feeling than caffeine. A better feeling that's hard to explain. 

So would I recommend them? Yes, actually I really would, and I will definitely be taking them again for my next morning run. 

*Please note that I received this sample for free but all opinions are my own as they always will be. I will never recommend a product that I do not fully support. 

Now, I don't know if it was the EnergyBits or if it's just coincidence, but I had an amazing 10-mile run today. I actually wanted to keep going for 11, but I knew Jason wasn't having the best run. Apparently I transferred my bad run vibes to him today.

But, if you want to know how bad it was on a scale of crappy - he said, "I don't think my crappy run was as crappy as your crappy run." We use big words ;-)

We've had cool fronts moving through, but they didn't bring the cooler air I was expecting this morning. Apparently that's tomorrow. But it was about 6 degrees cooler than last week, but same humidity. There was a cooler breeze at least. But for whatever reason, the temperature didn't seem to be an issue for me nor the humidity for my breathing.

In fact, today's run was definitely what I needed in terms of confidence. Even with a changed up route that seemed to include hill after hill, even trying to avoid them, I never felt like I was struggling to just put one foot in front of the other - like last week. I felt energized, alive, happy. It was a wonderful feeling. 

In fact, we ended up taking on a different bridge to get back across the river. For some reason I thought it seemed less intense than the other bridge we usually cross. Boy was I wrong. Apparently I blocked that stretch out of memory (hello runner's amnesia) from the half marathon because it was like this never-ending hill. 

But I felt strong today. I didn't feel the urge to stop. In fact, I had a stupid grin on my face because I was tackling the hill and it didn't seem so horrid for a change. Nice feeling. 

So, 10 very good, very strong miles done = one happy runner.

While we're (I'm ) on the subject of energy, and because I couldn't think of anything else for Fun Facts Friday, I thought it might be fun to share where we've reached for energy either now or in the past. I will definitely say that my choice of a boost of energy has changed significantly over the years. 
  • MiniThins - Oh yes, I did take these to stay up late when I was about 20 years old. 
  • Mt. Dew - Haven't had in years, used to take with MiniThins, weeeeeee.
  • Coffee - only 1 cup in the morning M-F every once in a while on the weekends but only mornings.
  • Apples - read that they help, they tend to make me hungry though.
  • 5-Hour Energy - I do take this occasionally, caffeine free, mostly B vitamins.
  • B Vitamins - I take my vitamins at lunch so this sometimes is an afternoon boost.
  • Moving - just getting up for a walk or workout wakes me up sometimes.
  • EnergyBits - new to me and love the idea of the spiraling

So, there you have it. The good and the bad and the really disgusting. Have you stooped to lows to get a boost of energy? What's your energy source of choice (other than food mind you)?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Friday
Lower temps (only 90 today)
Relaxing evening

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mother Nature Forces Unplugged Evening

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday because of a crazy wild storm that ended up knocking out our power. It wasn't an exciting day exactly, well, maybe the storm part. Here's how it went down:

I decided it would be safer to stay home again (and I'm sure my co-workers would agree). So more work from home. Which is mostly fine. I would love to work from home to be honest. However, I am just not properly set up to access everything I would normally need.

I did get up for a morning run. It was about 74 degrees and the humidity seemed to be a little lower. Or maybe I'm just beyond noticing any longer. It was still dark when I set out for my run with the exception of the stars and lightening off in the distance. No rain of course.

I wanted to just do an easy 4 miles. Not really pushing it. I did get negative splits, but kept the run fairly slow and taking a slightly easier route, meaning fewer hills. That's my version of being lazy ;-) It was a really pleasant run, and I think it helped loosen up my legs from yesterday's workout.

For my lunch break, I did head upstairs and knocked out weights. I went with a similar set up to Monday's weights but for back, shoulders and chest.

TS#1 - 4 x 6
Underhand rows
Overhead shoulder press
Flat bench chest press

TS#2 - 3 x 8
Pullovers
Lateral raises
Chest flye into chest press

TS#3 - 2 x 10
Double-arm rows
Front/side raise (front raise, open to T, back to front & lower)
Pushups with toes on bench

I thought it'd take longer than it did. But it was about 25 minutes start to finish.

Again, no grocery trip because I was staying in just in case. I did have everything to make a curry dish minus the rice. I did have quinoa though. So, I ended up making a Tofu Peanut Curry with Quinoa for dinner.

I pulled out all the ingredients (I had baked the tofu earlier so it was all ready for me) and started to get ready to prepare the dinner. I noticed the sky was dark, thunder rumbling, Heath shaking like mad. I looked outside and it was gale force winds. Insane. I don't know how any tree was standing afterwards to be honest.

Even the biggest trees seemed to be completely listing over. The rain and hail was coming sideways and the wind was rattling the doors. If the sky had been greenish/yellow, we would have been taking cover for a tornado because that's how intense it was.

The wind died down, but the thunder and rain continued. I got back to dinner and then the lights went out. What's crazy is that we live in the oldest part of the city and almost never lose power. Luckily we do have a gas stove, so I could still make dinner. But it does get more complicated when attempting by candlelight. Perhaps a little Extreme Chef? Ok, it wasn't that bad.

While dinner simmered, Jason and I played cards. Luckily the storm dropped the temps from 99 degrees to a chilly 74 degrees within minutes. For the first time since March, we opened the windows and screen door.

Tofu Peanut Curry 
 Ingredients:
1 can lite coconut milk
2-3 tbsp red curry paste (depending on heat level)
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp PB2 powder (or peanut flour or natural peanut butter)
2 - 3 carrots, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
Baked tofu - cubed (or other protein source)
Basil (Thai basil if you have)
Prepared quinoa (or rice)

Directions:
In large non-stick skillet, saute carrots, onion, bell peppers until soft, add in tofu, coconut milk, curry paste, agave nectar, and basil. Let simmer for approximately 15 minutes then add in the PB2, stir well and allow to continue to simmer until carrots are soft.

Serve over quinoa or rice.

No picture because it was getting dark and I was getting hungry.

We enjoyed dinner by candlelight along with a glass (or two) of wine. Guess Mother Nature can force an unplugged, relaxed dinner sometimes. And I must say, it was quite nice. 

Today I did go into work. I really don't think I'm contagious at this point. Today is also a rest day for me. I really feel worn out so it's perfect timing. While I love to exercise, sometimes I just need a mental and physical day off. 

I ended up making a wonderful Creamy Wild Mushroom Rice for dinner. I was going to post the recipe, but spent 1 1/2 on the phone with Garmin support trying to fix my watch. So the recipe will have to wait until tomorrow.

And I guess I get to test out the Garmin updates tomorrow morning. As much as it was a pain to sit through, they were very helpful once I reached the right person. The right person is always key isn't it?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Rest day
Trying new recipe

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chicken Pox & Chik'n Dinner

Itching and Running
So today was kind of interesting. I guess I should back up Saturday morning. I woke up and had 2 itchy bumps on my neck. I told Jason we needed to change the sheets immediately. I thought maybe it was a spider bite.

Later on, a couple of other bumps and then Sunday, a few more. So Monday I spent some time looking up bumps and pictures. Trust me, don't do that. You'll a) gross yourself out and b) scare the crap out of yourself assuming you have some flesh eating disease.

I ended up going to the doctor. I really don't care much for my doctor. He always seems so incredibly blase, unconcerned. He looked at my neck (where the bumps are located) and said, "It looks like chicken pox." He asked if I'd had them as a kid, and yes I did.

He repeated that he thought they looked like chicken pox and asked if I'd been feeling ok. No fever that I knew (though I was having headaches Thursday and Friday). He then said, "Well, if it was me, I'd take an anti-biotic just in case it was staph, but it looks like chicken pox." And that was it. Done. You may go now.

So, I went back to work. I ended up sending a picture to my step-mother (she was a nurse for the state working on CDC cases, or something like that). She called me right away and said she thought it looked like chicken pox and of course was concerned that I had infected other people. Something the doctor clearly wasn't concerned about.

Long story short, or maybe it's too late for that, I worked from home today just in case so as not to infect any co-workers. But all the while unsure what I really had. Talk about frustrating right?

And I know lots of people have suggested that it might be shingles because I have had chicken pox before, but trust me this itches and doesn't hurt like everyone says shingles does. I did talk to my sister and a friend of hers had them really bad as a kid but then a super mild case (similar to what mine is I suppose) as an adult.

Have you had chicken pox? How would you have dealt with your doctor in that situation? I just didn't even know what more to say or ask even.

Since I'm not feeling sick, Jason and I went ahead with our morning run. It was "only" 76 degrees according to the house thermostat, though Jason's watch said 82. I will say that as soon as we started moving, it felt more like 92 because of the humidity.

My Garmin is all kinds of jacked up so I couldn't go back and look at splits. I know they were pretty random because there was an unusual amount of traffic, meaning a lot of stopping and standing and waiting (and a little but of cursing perhaps). I'm not patient.

I feel like we worked pretty hard today. We weren't just poking along, but it's hard to say with all the standing we did end up doing - maybe that's why it was easier to go faster at times, we were resting up. Interval run? I do know that mile 2 was 8:52 and mile 7 was 9:02. I remember seeing a 9:20 but have no idea which mile it was.

Either way, ticked off at my Garmin, but happy with a decent 7 miles.

Leg Lifting
Later in the day I went ahead and tackled legs. I need to probably start doing legs on Sundays. My intention was to do a similar set up as yesterday: 4 sets of 6 reps at a heavy weight, then 3 x 8, then 2x10. I kind of goofed it up from the start because I misread my own notes. But it worked out in the end.

SS#1 - 4 x 8
Goblet squats
Stiff-legged deadlifts

SS#2 - 3 x 10
Plie squats
Alternating front lunges

SS#3 - 2 x 10
Alternating step ups
Firewalkers (5 steps right/5 steps left = 1 rep)

SS#4 - 2 x 20
Calf raises
Hip lifts (heels on step)

The workout was really short - shorter than I expected. But it actually felt pretty effective, as in I had shaky legs going down the stairs. It was nice to try something different at least.

Easy Peasy Dinner
Since I'm quarantined to the house just in case I do have chicken pox, that meant no grocery store trip. That also means I'm digging into the freezer for dinner. Though, that can make for a much easier meal sometimes right?

Jason had picked up some baby and fingerling potatoes, so I roasted those with some Brussels sprouts (frozen) that I had coated in a simple Strawberry Balsamic Glaze. You simply whisk together sugar-free strawberry preserves, balsamic vinegar, some whole grain mustard, splash of OJ, and a dash of salt and pepper.
I had some Gardein Chik'n Filets in the freezer. I had gotten them on manager's special and stashed them in the freezer for times just like this.

I made a quick mustard sauce by whisking together both Dijon and whole grain mustards, balsamic vinegar, white wine, salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, nutritional yeast flakes, and agave nectar.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Being able to work from home
Easy dinner

Monday, August 6, 2012

Running, Lazing, Switching up Weight Lifting

Running & Lazing 
This weekend was pretty low-key for us. Which, was fine by me actually. Saturday morning I got up and hit the pavement for a 6-mile run. It ended up being a pretty good run. Of course, after Friday's horrendous run, anything would seem "good."

It was really hot out, especially because the sun was blazing down on me. So when I got back to the house, I changed into a swimsuit and immediately jumped into the pool. Talk about the most refreshing, wonderful feeling.

I have been a little lax on stretching and rolling, so I did spend some extra time doing that after I got out of the pool. And then I decided to be lazy and get right back in the pool for some pool lounging time. Jason joined me.

We just floated around for a couple of hours before deciding to go out for lunch. We both agreed pizza sounded like it'd hit the spot, so pizza it was. The rest of the evening was pretty low-key. We played cards for a bit while listening to music. Made dinner then sat on the couch. Super exciting sounding huh ;-)

Sunday wasn't much different. I set out for 3 miles, but ended up doing 5 (putting me at 31 miles for the week, holy cow). It was just one of those runs that I didn't want to cut short. I was just out there, by myself, enjoying. I absolutely love it when that happens during a run.

Anyway, I decided to treat myself to another plunge into the pool post-run. Again, heaven. Such a wonderful feeling to jump in the water and have that immediate cooling effect, but also the near-weightless feeling for your arms and legs.

I was a little more productive Sunday at least. I did get laundry done, swept the floors and dusted. Then it was back into the pool for a bit. And then another late lunch just to get out of the house really. The rest of the day was super lazy. And sometimes lazy is just what you need.

How was your weekend? Did you get a chance to be a little bit lazy? 

Changing it Up
Today I ended up doing biceps and triceps. I am going to try out a new rep and set number. I've done a workout rotation with a similar set up, but it was done as full body.

The plan is to do an exercise with the heaviest weight as 4 sets of 6 reps. The next exercise will be 3 sets of 8 reps. The last exercise will be 2 sets of 10 reps (I may repeat next week and add one extra set of the last exercise depending on how it feels this week).

SS#1 - 4 x 6
Alternating curls
Double-arm overhead triceps extensions

SS#2 - 3 x 8
Hammer curls
Lying triceps extensions

SS#3 - 2 x 10
Preacher curls
Double-arm triceps kickbacks

So, for the experts, I'd love to hear some thoughts on this set up. I did high reps, low weights for about 2 weeks and while the change was nice, I'm definitely a low rep, high weight gal at heart. So is there a way to sort of combine the two?

Do you prefer one style vs the other? Or do you like to switch it up regularly?

Dinner tonight is yet to be decided. In all the laziness of the weekend, I skipped the grocery store. So it's time to get creative. But rather than leave you sans pictures, I'll share pics of my two crazy furbabies.

They got their hair cut today so they're super spiffy and shiny. Though Maddie doesn't seem to like her picture being taken so her head down was the best I could do.