Friday, September 28, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Traveling

Since I'm currently traveling, I thought a travel theme was appropriate for Fun Facts Friday. Brilliant idea right ;-)

I do enjoy traveling, but don't get to do so nearly as much as I'd really like. Somehow money and lack of time off seem to get in the way. Don't you just hate that?


  • I hate to fly, but I'll suck it up and even flew in a 4-seater piloted by a friend
Me on a 4-seater
  • I almost always over-pack, exception is the beach
  • I must hit the beach at least once a year
Perdido Key, FL

  • I hope to go to Italy one day
  • This is my first time to California
  • I've been on 2 cruises and I do get seasick by the way
  • Wine country is also on my list of places to visit
  • I have learned to try to go with the flow rather than over-plan
  • I do still try to stay active when I travel 
  • We always try to go to local restaurants vs chains
Karyn's Cooked in Chicago
  •  I love Seattle and Chicago, and Philly was pretty enjoyable as well I must add
Seattle
  • I've not been to many big cities other than those listed above (and Dallas, Atlanta, Houston)
  • I have a list of cities I want to see for fun and to meet blogger friends like Austin and Atlanta 

What are some of your favorite cities to visit or maybe some on your travel bucket list? Do you try to plan out your vacation activities or do you just wing it when you get there?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Way to Go Wednesday

I'm officially on my way to San Diego for the Social Fresh West social media conference by the time you're reading this post. Since I'll be travelling most of the day, I didn't figure I'd have time to really do a post nor much to talk about just yet. I could tell you about my flying anxiety, but that's no fun at all.

I imagine I'll have lots more to talk about tomorrow and after the conference. But, I might end up being MIA until Sunday or Monday. I hope you don't mind ;-)

Rather than dwell on flying or my over-packing craziness, I'll leave you all with some more shout outs for Way to Go Wednesday. I hope you check out these blogs and posts!



Kiersten for completing her first half marathon (and celebrating her birthday this week).

Krysten for completing her second half marathon, PRing AND running with an Olympian...Oh and filming it all.

Tiffany for running a great 5K time and enjoying it as a fun run!

Madeline  at Food Fitness and Family for running her first ever 5K.

Katie at Wish and Whimsy for being prepared for at home workouts.


Who would you like to give a shout out to today? It can be an awesome recipe, job promotion, just "because" whatever. Let me hear it. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

10 Miles and Chimichurri

Tomorrow morning we are flying out and heading to San Diego. I'm attending the Social Fresh West social media conference on Thursday and Friday. Jason wan't going to let me go to a gorgeous place like San Diego without him LOL.

Since I won't be getting a long run this weekend obviously, I went ahead and got it done this morning. I got in right at 4 miles with Jason before meeting up with my running buddy. We did have to make a quick stop by the house for more Body Glide. Humidity and sweaty inner thighs with running shorts don't always mix well, just sayin'.

Then "A" and I were off for the rest of the run. It was definitely a lot warmer and more humid again than it's been. Back up to just under 70 to start off the run. But there was a nice breeze so that really helped out. You take what you can get some days.

Today was one of those runs where I'd hit a great groove then get totally off kilter then back on again. I'm definitely looking forward to a rest day tomorrow.

"A" and I made it back to my house at mile 9 for me and 5 for her. She headed on towards her house to finish out 6-ish. I was going to call it quits but decided to go ahead and and make a lap to finish off a solid 10 miles.

And while it wasn't some easy-breezy run (hello bloody toe & chaffing), it was still a good one. Definitely much better than Saturday's 12. "A" helped keep me focussed. We held a really good pace (for me) and great conversation always helps keep you more motivated.

The only reason I did go ahead and go for 10 today was because a) I was feeling pretty good and b) I will be taking 2 rest days this week and any mileage in San Diego will be low. So this is an official back off week for me and probably good timing too I'll readily admit. I'm sure we'll do lots of walking, and I'm going to do my best to take advantage or the rest days for recovery.

I did manage to get most everything packed last night for the trip. I had just a little bit left to do this evening, including packing up the pupsters' things. We have some friends who'll be watching them for us. They always get really excited to go on any kind of car ride, so they'll be happy campers tonight.

I mentioned yesterday that we were having chimichurri marinated Gardein Beefless Tips courtesy of Jason. But he had forgotten to make the sauce the previous night and had wanted the beefless tips to marinate.

So last night was homemade veggie burgers with sweet potato fries. While that was baking in the oven, he made up the chimichurri sauce so he could marinate the beefless tips as he'd originally wanted to do..

And tonight we get to enjoy Jason's chimichurri concoction.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Tasty dinner

Monday, September 24, 2012

Running Expectations

12 Frustrating Miles
Well, this weekend was a lot of the same as past weekends. Running, relaxing, a little bit of productivity. What wasn't the same is my long run. Oh, I got it done. But I had to fight for those 12 miles.

Running is such a funny funny thing. For every 5 runs or maybe 10, heck if you're lucky 20....then bammo that bad one. And you just never know when it'll happen. Those days you expect it to suck it's great then those days you're hoping for runner's high and the feeling of flying is when you hit the wall.

And sometimes social media doesn't help. Why do I say that? I mean, you have so much inspiration, people cheering you one (hello virtual sherpa crew), but you also see all these posts, tweets, updates about an amazing 12-miler, a fantastic 20 miles, or the best 18 ever.

You have had some great runs, you see all these others having great runs, you get psyched up dreaming of your 12 going perfectly. And it doesn't. It can be disappointing, frustrating.

Now, I'll admit that part of it was my fault. I waited too late and underestimated the temperatures that jumped from 65 to 82 really flipping fast. I did the first 6.5 miles way too fast as well. But I got back to the house with Jason (he was only doing half of it with me), took my GU got lots more water, tried to cool down for a second before taking off again. I thought that little re-group would do the trick.

I had side-stitch, my piriformis was hurting, I had to stop and stretch twice. I was overheated and started to just get mad with myself. I started asking "how bad do you want this?" over and over. And I did want it. And I'm stubborn, so I finished every last step of those 12 miles.

After stretching and trying to refuel, I started feeling super crappy and nauseous. My electrolytes were totally out of whack no matter what I was doing. But, we were heading to a harvest festival, and I thought being outside, enjoying the sun and fresh air might help some. I had a beer when we got there and that actually made me feel totally human again - carbs? sugars? Not sure what it was, but it felt almost magical!

We ended up not staying terribly long at the festival. It was nice to mill around and check out vendors and such, but I also needed to eat again. Insert late lunch at one of our favorite pizza joints - Vino's. Pizza and beer are perfect recovery foods right?

Much Better 4.5 Miles (times 2)
Sunday morning Jason and I got in a much much better 4.5 mile run together. I did manage to squeeze in biceps and triceps as well. I just went with giant sets for each muscle group. It was a short but effective workout I must say. I did stretch and roll out my legs quite a bit after everything was said and done.

Then we had some errands to run. Maddie was completely out of food so that was a must-do thing. We ended up going for another late lunch at Dugan's so we could enjoy the patio. And it just so happened that a friend of ours was stopping in to grab something at the same time. So we got to visit with him for a while.

I felt like I needed to be more productive, so I did get lots of laundry washed and managed to do some more weeding of the flower beds. The dogs really enjoyed just being outside too. Though, I think I found every mosquito in our yard. Itchy itchy.

Today I managed to get in a good 4.5 mile run at lunch. It was one of those "need to run" situations. It really helped clear my head, and it was nice to have temps that let me get in a midday run for a change.

I'll be leaving for San Diego early Wednesday morning, so tonight I need to get packing. Jason is planning to make a chimichurri sauce for some Gardein Beefless Tips. Not exactly sure how the dish will all come together to be honest. This is his project, not mine.

I don't normally do a question of the day type of deal, but today I'm going to. So, question for today - do you think social media (blogging, twitter, FB, Instagram, etc.) can create a sense of expectation for your own workouts? Sometimes a false sense of perfectness? 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Running Convos & Best Flatbread Ever

Running & Lifting 
Yesterday started off with a dark, but really great 4.5 mile run with my running buddy. I was afraid my legs were going to be heavy from the runs Tuesday and Wednesday, but they felt great. We just chatted away and boogied on down the road.

I didn't pay any attention to pace until I stopped my Garmin while stretching and was really surprised to see an average of 8:43. And the best part was that I never felt like I was struggling. It was just a great run with fun conversation (which I actually missed this morning since it's a rest day).

Don't you just love it when running is almost easy like that? I mean, you're working, but everything is just sort of clicking into place nicely. Now if we could figure out how to make all runs like that...

During lunch I did managed to get in shoulders, back, chest and some more legs. I feel like I've been neglecting legs since I don't have access to a squat rack to lift heavy. So perhaps working them twice a week will have to suffice. I tried to work more glutes yesterday.

Protein Soup Please
Without going into details, I didn't post yesterday because they had admitted my nephew into Children's Hospital. Just when I was about to head over there to take them some clothes and toiletries, my sister said they were going to release him and let him go home for the night. Great news of course.

It was cool enough in the evening that soup sounded like a good idea. Plus, I had a kabocha squash sitting on the counter that has been staring me down all week. I went with a Curried Kabocha and Pumpkin Soup.

You'll notice that I added silken tofu and white beans to the soup. I know that protein isn't always a big concern for everyone, but the way that I lift weights and run (workout in general) I feel that I really do need more protein. I can definitely feel the difference when I'm not getting in enough during the day. So, it's easily left out, but I would think the soup would be far less filling without some protein.

Curried Kabocha and Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients:
1/2 white onion, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 kabocha squash, sliced and roasted
1/2 package silken tofu
1 can lite coconut milk
28 - 32 oz (approximately) no-salt vegetable broth
1 can pumpkin
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
To taste: garam masala, red pepper, curry powder, salt, pepper, parsley, powdered ginger

Directions:
In a large soup pot, saute the onions and garlic until begin to soften. Add in the cubed, roasted kabocha, beans, tofu, spices, coconut milk and about half of the broth. Allow to simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes

Using either an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the mixture until smooth. If using a regular blender, transfer back into pot.

Add in the pumpkin and remaining broth. Re-season if needed and allow to simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

I knew I wanted some sort of bread to go along with the soup. And there was one recipe I've been wanting to try. So this was the perfect opportunity.

I decided to make my friend Sarena's Rosemary Chickpea Oat Flatbread. I've made a few of Sarena's gluten-free baked goods before and she's never let me down. Seriously waiting for her to open up a gluten-free bakery any day now.

The only changes I ended up making were using parsley and kalamata olives as I was out of rosemary. Guess I should have checked that before getting everything else mixed in huh?


All I can say is that you must try this flatbread. It's amazing. Jason kept saying over and over how great it was. I had doubled the recipe amount and we only had one small slice leftover if that tells you anything. The best part is that it's really easy to put together. So you gotta try it!

Fun Facts Friday - Running Conversations
I was thinking about some of the conversations my running buddy and I end up having during our runs. Sometimes they're really random, sometimes they sort of flit around, sometimes we get more in depth. But the topics can vary wildly.

I think some of that comes from talking, listening, also concentrating then one thing leads to another thought and it just sort of tumbles around. So here are some of the things we chat about (because I know you are at the edge of your seat with anticipation right?)

  • Weight lifting - she's one of the very very very few IRL friends that lifts 
  • Running (yes, running and talking about it)
  • Weather - we runners are obsessed with weather
  • Houses in our area 
  • Different routes
  • Sidewalks - she's kind of obsessed with them or avoiding them as she's had major tumbles on them
  • Nutrition - awesome talking with someone else concerned with healthy eating
  • Being, um, regular
  • Why women are still convinced they'll bulk up with weights
  • New weight lifting exercises
  • Running clothes
  • Lasik surgery
  • Running form


And of course there are so many other random topics here and there, especially those first few runs together where we were really just introducing ourselves to each other.

Your turn - what are some of your conversations? Maybe even those convos in your head. Those can be really interesting!



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Speed Work on Way to Go Wednesday

More Speed Work
This morning the alarm went off way way too early for my liking, and it was even 10 minutes later than normal. But, I had a rundate with my running buddy for some 800's.

Today was the first cool run of the season too. We had actually texted about being strong and not giving in to the urge to wear too much clothing. Your mind says, "Hey dummy, it's cold." But you know, you know, you know you're going to get hot.

So, I pulled out my shorts, a short-sleeved top last night. This morning, my brain kicked in and I grabbed my arm sleeves at the last minute. I stepped out and it definitely felt chilly - 54 degrees according to house thermostat.

I felt suddenly smug about my decision to wear the sleeves. The, a mere half a mile later, not so smug. I was sweating already. Sweating? 54 degrees? Yep. And I'm sure I'll repeat this error a few more times before I learn.

Luckily, my piriformis problems weren't flaring up quite as bad as yesterday. Instead, it was causing a very dull ache in my low back on the same side as the rear-end issues. Definitely related. I had already told "A" that I wasn't sure how many 800's I could do, but I'd give it my best effort.

I managed to get in 4 today. Not quite as fast as last week, but pretty consistent at least: 3:42, 3:44, 3:41, 3:44. I called it quits after 4 because I knew I was going to end up pushing too far, too hard. "A" did another 2 sets while I headed back home.

I ended up with a pretty good 6.5 miles. I guess it was as pleasant as it gets for doing speed work ;-) At least you do have that feeling of accomplishment though.

Today was crazy insane busy at work, but I did get in a great lunch with my running buddy. She just happens to work in the building diagonal from me. We walked over to this great little vegetarian place downtown called 4-Square Gifts. It's probably one of the only vegetarian-only places I can even think of actually.

I had a tofu and hummus wrap and she ended up getting the chickpea wrap that I almost always get. It was such a beautiful day out, perfect for a walk and great company as well. Plus, it is kind of fun to actually sit down and visit rather than trying only visit during our runs ;-)

Way to Go Wednesday
Rather than take you through my dinner, which will likely not be anything new, I thought I'd do the Way to Go Wednesday again. I think that's way more exciting and deserving than a picture of my food ;-)


Lindsay who has an amazing opportunity that will let her work with her hubby.

Jolene who tacked her own half marathon this week and kicked some major booty.

My dad who emailed me to say that he's been able to start running using the run/walk method. Very proud daughter!

Heather who had a great long run after several not so great ones.

Pavement Runner for taking on the Mt. Diablo Marathon, finishing top 10 AND 3rd in his age group.

Jen for an amazing post on being unapologetically strong.

Who would you like to give a thumbs up to today?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Lunch with friend
Gorgeous day

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Morning Run & Pesky Piriformis


This morning Jason and I got up around 5 am for a run. The plan was for him to run the first 2 miles with me then I was meeting up with "A" to run the remaining 5. It's his birthday, so this was a birthday run for him. He was planning on 7 as well, but didn't want to run with the Chatty Cathy Crew ;-)

It's funny how at 65 degrees, running, I'm hot. I was still in a tummy revealing sports bra and shorts and sweating like crazy. But, when it's 65 and I'm not running (even 75 to be honest) I'm going to have on long pants and a 3/4 sleeved top at the very least, likely a light long-sleeve. 

The humidity was still high with the tail end of a front passing through - supposed to dip into the 50's tonight. So I was sweating like it was 95 out. It was fairly windy though, and that really did help out quite a bit. Of course, it also made for a little bit of a resistance run at times.

With the sun not even starting to rise until 6:30, we've been avoiding one particular stretch because it's unlit and then others can be a little tricky. Luckily, "A" was wearing a headlamp today. This meant that we were able to take those routes today. That lamp was no-joke bright. In fact, she joked that it'd blind anyone potential attackers. And I think she might be right. 

Overall, it was a really great run. There were times when the pace was getting a little hard for me to keep steadily, but I pushed a little harder and was still able to hold a conversation - well, except for maybe the return over the Main St. Bridge. I joked that she was trying to kill me, but thanked her at the same time.

However, I do think that maybe I was pushing a little too hard in regards to my piriformis. I did have to ask her to stop very briefly so I could stretch it on a bench before finishing out the last of the run. I really don't like to stop, but sometimes you just have to, and I know she understood. 

I ended up with 8 miles and felt pretty good until I started to cool down…and sit at work. My plantar fasciitis and Achilles were doing better today (I've been consistently taping for the past week), but my piriformis pain was back in full force and angry. I stood a lot, stretched a lot, silently cursed a lot. I feel like one big ball of mess in the injury department.

I ended up having to take a prescription-strength naproxen at lunch for the pain. I did find an article that addresses the various causes of what's called "Dead Butt Syndrome." And worry that perhaps it's a lot more than just my piriformis. I'm trying really hard not to feel defeated. But I won't like, it's really frustrating to feel like you're just always on an uphill, losing battle.  

Anyway, enough whining. I did get to see sunshine today, finally. Clear skies have never looked so wonderful. Apparently today is National Cheeseburger Day and Jason requested a cheeseburger for his birthday dinner.

So, guess what we're having tonight? Yep, homemade veggie burgers with baked sweet potato fries.

Do you ever celebrate food holiday?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Sunshine

Monday, September 17, 2012

Raining & Running and Blah Mondays

Running and Raining 
Today is one of those full on Mondays. Kind of a blue day and it doesn't help matters that it's just been nasty, rainy, gray, dreary since Friday afternoon. Big fat blah.

However, despite the craptastic weather, I did get in a really good and very wet 11.5 mile run on Saturday. As long as it's not just pouring down and storming, running in the rain is really rather fun. Oh, and as long as it's not cold. Just a few stipulations.

It was in the mid- to upper-60's when I set out with a steady, but not exactly heavy rain. It felt very refreshing I must say. The rain definitely helped to keep me cooler. The only downfall was the 100% humidity of course.

But, everything seemed to be clicking for me. I did make a stop at the house at mile 6 to put on dry socks. The others were getting terribly squishy and I was worried about blisters at that point. Not that the dry sock stayed dry for long, but it sure felt good while they were dry.

Maybe it was the thrill of running in the rain, but I managed to rock out a much faster pace than I ever expected. 8:50 overall average for 11.5 miles. Done and done. Definitely a nice little runner's high.

After getting cleaned up, we went to lunch with my mom and her husband. They wanted to take Jason out to lunch for his birthday (tomorrow). We ended up going to a newish place called the Big Orange. I have only been once before. It is a burger place - gourmet burgers. But they do have homemade (not frozen out of a box) veggie burgers that are really quite tasty.

No pictures, we were all hungry and dove right in! Plus, sometimes it's nice to not be a blogger and just eat like normal people do ;-)

Sunday I kind of forced myself out the door for a run. I was just not feeling terribly motivated. Again, gloomy day. It wasn't raining just yet, so it was simply humid. My legs were heavy and my heart wasn't all the way into the run. I just kept thinking it'll get better.

I won't say it was exactly a bad run. Just not a terribly enjoyable one. And mostly because I had too much on my mind. The run helped, of course, but I was definitely thinking more than I usually do. I did manage to get in 5 miles though.

Jason and I ran some errands then had lunch at a pizza place with a nice patio. It started raining, again, but it was covered so no worries. Plus, it was really nice to at least be able to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Monday

Today has been a complete Monday as I mentioned. I did get in a decent workout during lunch. Again, not super motivate, but I knew it'd help out my mood somewhat. But man it was hard to find that motivation to get started. And I think the weights were heavier somehow too. That can happen right?

I did biceps/triceps/legs and a little bit of kickboxing. The legs ended up being an afterthought actually. The original plan was to do giant sets, but I ended up adding in a leg exercises.

GS#1 3x8
Dumbbell curls
Hammer curls
Preacher curls
Goblet squats

GS#2 - 3x8
Double-arm overhead triceps extension
Lying triceps extension
Double-arm kickbacks
Stiff-legged deadlifts

SS
Alternating front lunges - 3x8
Calf raises - 3x20

Overall, it was a decent workout. I always end up having to go lower with weights for giant sets by the 2nd set. My muscles were definitely confused and perhaps not pleased with me today. That's ok, they'll thank me later...or I'll thank myself at least.

So, we all have to get through Monday. Sometimes they aren't that bad, but sometimes they can really stink. Got any tips/tricks to get through a rough one?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Weekly Randomness

I have loved hearing the many things you guys are thankful for from yesterday's Thankful Thursday post. Sounds like many of us need that gentle reminder from time-to-time.

Also, sometimes we need to step out of routine for the sake of our sanity. Last night we ended up meeting my friend after work for a very non-routine weekday happy hour. The weather was pleasant enough to sit out on the patio as well. She was celebrating her last day of work - today she is begins her new venture as a self-employed court reporter.

I'll admit to some grumbling about going out after work. It was a long, tiring day. I was frustrated, fairly pissy, probably unpleasant to be around actually. But, in the end, I'm really glad we went. "C" definitely needed to celebrate this new change, and I needed to calm my butt down. And yes, sometimes beer might be necessary for that to happen. Just being honest.

And speaking of honest, my brain is simply fried. I can't seem to come up with anything incredibly funny or witty for Fun Facts Friday. So how about some absolutely random things from this week?
  • I almost used my deodorant on my inner thighs instead of my Bodyglide on Wednesday morning. Perhaps a sign I should have stayed in bed?
  • This morning I decided to wear my new teal jeans (really out of comfort zone) and got one tag, knew there had been another but couldn't find it. Sitting at my desk I feel this pinching/itchy sensation on my hamstring. Yep, found the tag down my pants. Again....more sleep needed?
  • Last night I was using the electric wok to make stir-fry and started smelling wires burning. Time to get kitchen rewired folks. Had to completely disassemble that outlet so the house didn't burn down. 
  • It's really harder than you might think to come up with double-digit mile routes. 
  • Sometimes I am so happy for my rest day that I could cry (that would be today). 
  • The furbabies are getting hair cuts today - and so am I. Hair Cut Friday anyone?
  • How can you be too sleepy to sleep? I have felt that way much of the week. 
  • My running partner is trying to convince me to run the Little Rock FULL with her in March. And a weird, strange, scary little (very very little) part of me considered it. But, I worry about injuries - have so many issues just doing a half. 
  • I worry that my enthusiasm for other people's accomplishments might seem contrived (right word?). But it's deeply sincere. I love seeing friends and family achieve their goals and dreams. It just makes me smile. Maybe I see it as hope for myself too? I also know how wonderful it feels to receive that type of support. 
Ok, there you have it, just some totally random things from this week. Now it's your turn. What's something random in your life?



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Recovery Run on Thankful Thursday

Recovery Run & Weights
This morning I slept in until just after 5:30 - crazy right? My plan was to get in an easy 3-4 "get the lactic acid out" kind of run. It sometimes sounds counterintuitive to work the legs when they're sore, but it really can help so much to get them moving. Since it was a shorter run, that meant I didn't have to be up and out the door by 5:30, and I wasn't meeting my running buddy either - though, I'm pretty sure I saw her zip on by at one point.

At first, I thought, "What am I thinking...." My legs felt tight, heavy. But once I started moving, they woke right up and it felt fantastic actually. My plan was to keep a 9 min/mile or over and avoid hills. Well, it was so dark still that I didn't feel comfortable doing in any direction that didn't involve hills. So, typical route starting with almost a 3/4 mile incline.

I must say, that stretch is finally starting to feel less intimidating. Either that or I was delusional this morning. And that's possible of course. Funny things happen when you run. The same route changes every single time. One day it's hard, the next not so bad. You never know what you might get.

In the end, my slow run ended up being an 8:49 average. Several months ago I couldn't even eke that out for a mile. So maybe it's the weather and also being more recovered from my piriformis issues?

During lunch I went ahead and got in my workout for back and shoulders. I went with a similar setup as for biceps and triceps. Supersets then a pyramid dropset.

SS#1 - 3x8
Lateral raise
Underhand rows

SS#2 - 3x10
Front raise
Single-arm row

Pyramid for Shoulders - Shoulder Press - 6,8,10,8,6 (start heaviest weight, decrease weight and increase reps, then reverse the order)

Pyramid for Back - Pullovers- 6,8,10,8,6 (start heaviest weight, decrease weight and increase reps, then reverse the order)

The pyramid was definitely challenging on shoulders. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to hit that final 6th rep with good form. I'm pretty sure I'll be feeling this one by bedtime.

Thankful Thursday
I thought I'd do something a little different again tonight. Things have been pretty hectic at work. Some days I just feel wiped out mentally and physically. There are definitely days when I have those "I want to run away moments" (not talking work, but life in general).

I definitely get overwhelmed some day - with making dinner, cleaning the house, trying to keep up with laundry, being a good wife, worrying about finances, giving the furbabies adequate attention, heck...even giving myself adequate attention. You know, life.

Rather than dwell on things and let them just pile up and weigh me down, I need to always remember to be thankful for the positives in my life. They're they. They might be something trivial, but they add up right? It's why I keep up with my Daily To-Enjoy List. A gentle reminder to find the happy things.



Right now, I feel like I really do have a lot to be thankful for. So, here's my list for this Thursday:
  • The fact that I can run, even if it's not always pain-free.
  • Having a room dedicated as a gym space since my gym closed.
  • My new running buddy (who's helping me get faster).
  • The fact that I have a husband who will go run with me (sometimes reluctantly mind you).
  • Some amazing amazing friends (you ladies know exactly who you are).
  • The fact that I do have a secure job with some pretty great co-workers on my team (I'd be underwater completely right now without them).

What are you thankful for today? Do you make it a point to remember the positives despite the many negatives? 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Way to Go Wednesday

800's and Weights
This morning I got myself up and out of bed for my speed work day with my running buddy. I was kind of dragging butt. In fact, I almost used deodorant in lieu of my bodyglide on my inner thighs. Yup, perhaps that was a sign to get more sleep.

But, I had made plans to meet "A" at 6 am and I'm a girl who sticks to her plans. Even if half asleep. I got in 1.5 miles by the time I caught up with "A." Then it was time to tackle 800's. We decided on a slightly different route - one that was straight a mostly flat. The only problem is that it is still so incredibly dark at 6am. If a section of the street has a light out, it's completely dark. Makes things a little interesting. I may need to learn how to properly fall.

Anyway, it was a pretty good speed session. I'm thankful for the cooler temps that's for sure. The humidity still seemed to be rather high though as we were both dripping with sweat. At least it was 63-ish and not 80's like the last time I did speed work.

My splits were pretty good (3:46, 3:40, 3:43, 3:37). Clearly there was one direction that was somehow "easier." Perhaps less of any sort of gradual incline. I only did 4 before heading back home. "A" stuck it out for 6 - she's crazier than me you see ;-)

I got in a total of 6 miles and even with the recovery jogs, my average pace was an 8:46. I was really happy with that, shows that my intervals are improving. I say improving but not easy mind you.

I almost skipped out on my leg and chest workout at lunch. But I really can't skip my weights. I know this. It can get so hard though, especially for legs. It's hard to do legs when they're sore from running and then it's hard to run when they're sore from lifting. Talk about a Catch 22 huh?

Once I got going, however, I sort of got into the zone and it ended up being a pretty good workout. I also added in abs at the end and it only took right at 30 minutes.

TS#1 - 3x8
Goblet squats
Stiff-legged deadlifts
Chest flye into chest press

TS#2 - 3x8
Plie squats with low-end pulse
Calf raises (20 reps each set)
Pushups

TS#3 - 3 sets, reps varied
3-point lunge (with dumbbells) - 5 each side
Chest press - 10 reps

I will say that this was a pretty light leg workout. But, after yesterday's faster paced run and today's intervals, trust me when I say I felt it. However, I am slightly disappointed in my leg workouts lately. Must figure this one out. And I think I say this every single time I start to increase mileage.

Way to Go Wednesday
I have no idea what we might have for dinner. Sometimes I think that makes for a really boring and trite post day in and day out. If it's another new recipe, I'll be sure to share. But what I'd rather share are some posts and accomplishments from some amazing ladies.



Jess and her hubby hit another huge PR in their marathon training by demolishing 22 miles!

Dorry and her hubby celebrated their 2-year marriage anniversary.

Jo had 12 very redeeming (and rewarding) miles.

Christie from Average Moms Wear Capes 5 mile run = on the road to recovery.

Who would you like to give a "Way to Go" shout out to?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Weight workout
Relaxing evening

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cool Weather Run & Eggplant, Zucchini, Tofu Bake

Cool Weather = Increased Speed
It was so tough dragging myself out of bed this morning for my run. I didn't sleep very well for starters. And it's just flat out dark at 5 am. I did end up resetting the alarm to give me an extra 10 minutes in bed, just laying there, but still.

Jason set out with me for the first 2 miles, then I met my running buddy for the remaining 5.5 miles. It felt fairly chilly out - 60 degrees. Of course, I was sweating like usual by mile 2. The weather felt great though. Not too windy, but just enough of a breeze to keep you cooled off. 

My legs were much peppier than I expected too. In fact, my slowest mile was the first one at 9:10. That one is usually the "wake-up" mile for us. It does make a difference when you don't feel like you're breathing under water - in jacuzzi temp water nonetheless. 

"A" and I kept up a really good pace. I fought my initial urge to slow down and just went with it. I knew she'd slow if I needed her too. And honestly, I really didn't. But there was certainly that initial urge and fear that I was going to end up having a crappy run again.

But, I was able to participate in the conversation today unlike the last longish run where I semi-bonked on her. In other words, I wasn't struggling just to keep running let alone talk.

My fastest mile was 8:30. We did have a slow one at mile 6 because of a ramp that zigzags up to a bridge so you really can't go fast, but it's better than taking the stairs to the top. My overall average for 7.53 miles ended up being an 8:47. I'll take that for sure; it left me grinning to be honest. Now if I can shave a few seconds off and maintain for 13.1, I'll have a half PR in October. 

KISS Dinner
My legs were pretty heavy feeling after the morning run. A sign I was definitely working harder. But not a bad thing of course. I decided to indulge myself with an Epsom salt bath before rolling and stretching and before tackling dinner. This really should be more common and not an indulgence.

Dinner almost ended up being a lot more complicated than I had really intended. I started off just trying to figure out how to use the last of our Japanese eggplants from the garden. I also had some zucchini to use up. 

I thought that some sort of casserole would be an easy option since it was cool enough to use the oven. My thoughts were going towards something with a quick, homemade red sauce and veggies. But then Jason asked if I was going to be crisping up the eggplant with panko. Well, I hadn't planned on that....And it's awfully tasty.

And I almost went that direction. Then I stopped myself. I needed to make something simpler rather than more complicated- KISS (keep it simple stupid).

Eggplant, Zucchini, Tofu Bake 
Ingredients:
2-3 Japanese eggplant, cubed
2-3 (depending on size) zucchini, cubed
1 package extra firm tofu (cut in half thin into thin slices, pressed)
To taste: salt, parsley, basil, oregano
Spaghetti sauce of your choice
Daiya Vegan Mozzarella (or cheese of your choice)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a non-stick skillet, dry sear your tofu gently pressing to release the moisture. Remove and allow to cool then cut into cubes.

Combine veggies, tofu and seasonings in a large bowl and toss. Add the spaghetti sauce all and put into into a casserole dish. Cover with a lid and allow to bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove lid, sprinkle the top with your cheese and bake until cheese is melted.

*If you want it extra cheesy, you can add in some of the Daiya to the mixture, saving more for topping the dish.
 Now, if I had remembered to start the sauce sooner, this would have gone much smoother. I was busy trying to relax though ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List
Morning run
Cooler temps
Remembering KISS


Monday, September 10, 2012

Great Running & Moroccan Chickpeas & Quinoa

Running & Tailgating 
We had some incredible weather this weekend. The lows were in the low 60's and highs mid-80's. It actually felt like fall. And I guess that came just in time for the first of two AR Razorback games held in Little Rock. The university is in Fayetteville, but two games of the season are in Little Rock.

 And, it's a huge deal. Everyone turns out for some serious tailgating. It's just one enormous party on the public golf course outside of the stadium. We, of course, went. We met up with our friends. Walked around and visited with other friends.

Lots of standing, walking, walking and standing. Let's just say that didn't bode well for my feet after our morning run. Because it was cooler, we actually got to sleep in until after 7 and didn't have to start the run until around 8:30. It was a nice change of pace, being able to actually wake up fully before taking off out the door.

Jason and I decided to try out a slightly different (much hillier) route. I guess that was appropriate after my Hills post on Friday. Unfortunately, he wasn't having a great run. His sinuses were all messed up, heart rate too high. Just crappy. I, however, was having a great run.

I don't know if it's better or worse to have a good one while your partner is suffering. I felt terrible of course. But, he's stubborn like me and finished 7 miles - and we actually kept a decent pace despite the struggle.

I dropped him off at the house at mile 7 where I got more water and took my GU. Then I was off again for another 4 miles. It was one of those "everything clicking" types of runs for me. I really had to stop myself from going for 12 miles. I knew I needed to reel it in and not push my luck with my foot. It was getting achy. So, I stopped at 11 miles with a 9:03 overall average. Well hello cool weather running!

After the run, I put my feet up in the air (butt up against a door and feet propped up). This usually helps me with any post-run swelling. I usually try to stay in that position for about 10 minutes. Then I finish fully stretching out.

We got cleaned up and headed to the tailgating events. But by the time I got home, my feet looked like sausages. Jason had actually pointed out how nicely they were swelling up while we were still tailgating and made me sit to prop my feet up. Good thing I had on flip flops because I don't think my feet could have fit into real shoes.
I ended up sucking it up and doing an ice bath for my feet. Holy crap that hurt! But it was definitely necessary.

Sunday was pretty low-key. I got in a really good 5-mile run then spent a few hours on the patio reading. We ended up going out for a late lunch - pizza at a great place that has a nice patio space. Overall, just a really nice weekend.

Cross-Training
Today was kind of a typical Monday. I wasn't ready for it. Just wanted one more day to simply enjoy. The weather was great once again. That of course gave me the itch to get out and run at lunch. But, I needed to rest my legs and feet. So it was cross-training for me.

I got in biceps and triceps then Cathe's MMA Kickboxing during lunch. After work, lots of stretching and rolling out on my Triggerpoint Therapy Kit.

For the past 2 weeks I've been supersetting 2 exercises for the same muscle group then following up with a dropset. Today I decided to superset exercises for each muscle group then follow with a Pyramid Dropset.

SS#1 - 3x8
Dumbbell curls
Double-arm overhead triceps extensions

SS#2 - 3x8
Hammer curls
Double-arm kickbacks

Pyramid for Biceps - Preacher curls - 6,8,10,8,6 (start heaviest weight, decrease weight and increase reps, then reverse the order)

Pyramid for Triceps - Lying triceps extensions - 6,8,10,8,6 (start heaviest weight, decrease weight and increase reps, then reverse the order)

Moroccan Monday
I really wasn't sure what to make for dinner. Jason had tossed out a few ideas. He thought he was going to get home late, so I thought I had plenty of time to figure it out. He ended up home a lot earlier than expected, so we started the whole "what do you feel like eating" conversation.

At one point he mention "that Moroccan" dish. Um, huh? The one good thing about keeping a blog is having access to recipes and dinners.

So tonight I made a Moroccan Chickpeas and Quinoa based off of a few previous recipes for crockpot stews.

Moroccan Chickpeas and Quinoa
Ingredients:
1 sweet potato, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
32 oz low-sodium vegetable broth
Spices to taste: curry powder, turmeric, salt, black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, parsley, red pepper
Currants or raisins - handful
Quinoa - made with same spices used for the chickpeas and veggies

Directions:
In a large soup pot, saute potato, oinions, peppers, carrots and garlic until the veggies begin to soften.

Add in the broth, chickpeas, and seasonings. Allow to simmer until the veggies start to become tender then add in the raisins and cook until they have re-hydrated.
Cook your quinoa according to the package directions seasoning to your liking and serve the chickpeas and veggies over the quinoa.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Weight workout
New dinner recipe
Cooler temps

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Hills

Raise your hand if you're happy that it's Friday? I have both hands up in the air. It's Friday and it's a rest day for me. I actually slept until 5:40 this morning too. It's the little things right?

Speaking of little things, and big things too really, lets talk about hills. A few weeks ago I was emailing with my friend Jolene about running, running routes, and hills. The next run, all I could do was think about our email chat and about hills.

It's hard to avoid hills entirely unless you go to a track. So, as a runner, you have to learn to contend with them somehow. You either dread them and try to avoid them. Or you suck it up and stare them down and challenge them. Or you just try not to think about it. Like if you don't think too much, it won't be so bad.

But all hills are not created equal. And they affect you so much differently depending on where you're at with your run. The first hill might not seem so bad. Silly me for being nervous about it. But then when you've been out there for a bit and your legs are starting to get heavy, a teeny tiny blip feels like a mountain. Am I right or is it just me?

For Fun Facts Friday, I thought I would share the types of hills runners face. And this is from my perspective of course. I look forward to hearing your types of hills and how you tackle them. 

Gradual inclines - these might be the most deceiving of all hills. These are the stretches of road (sometimes a mile long) that at first glance seem flat. Then you start to feel like you're working harder and harder, running in place. What the heck? Then you really focus on the road and you realize…it's all one.big.long.long.incline. 

Bridges - bridges can be tricky. One side somehow is always steeper than the other. Some can be fairly steep inclines that arch up, others resemble a gradual incline. And you know that if you go over one bridge, you're likely to have to cross the same one again or another one to get back. 

Rolling - these hills never seem to end. You see one and you think, ok, I can do this. Then you get to the top and start the decent only to realize that another one awaits you. 

Monsters - these are just the king of all hills plain and simple. You can't over think them, you have to either avoid them or just tackle them head on and hope you survive. 

Blips - these are almost like gradual inclines, they sort of spring out of the ground out of nowhere. You're just humming along and then, bam, a small hill. They aren't incredibly steep or anything. They just surprise you and you find yourself huffing and puffing a little confused as to where it came from. Blips are also far worse the longer you've been running.  


What are your thoughts on hills? Love to hate? Hate hate? Try not to think about? And how do you tackle them? Maybe I should do some hill repeats now.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Rest day
Friday
Picking up new running shoes

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Run, Lift, Eat - Another Roasted Kale Salad

Morning Run & Midday Lift
This morning I opted to do an easier run with Jason rather than push myself with 800's with my running buddy. My foot feels a little less achy, but I didn't want to chance it any more than I already was with a run period.

The plan was 3 miles. This meant we could "sleep in" until 5:15-ish. Hey, I'll take what I can get ;-) Of course, this was the one morning this week when I was sound asleep and the alarm very rudely interrupted that deep sleep.

It was another hot, muggy morning. But at least it wasn't a long run...that's what I reminded myself of anyway. It was a pretty good run for the most part. We kept it basic. As flat as possible. The overall average for 4 (yes I did 1 extra mile) ended up being a 9:08 pace.

Considering how the heat/humidity has been affecting my breathing and perceived exertion level, I'll take it. We actually had negative splits. The first mile was a super slow one (the wake-up mile) at 9:37, then it increased steadily to 9:08, 8:59 and finished strong with 8:44.

We have a cool front moving through sometime tomorrow. Tonight's "low" is around 76 but Friday night looks like it might be 67 (depending on which station's forecast you believe). I'm thinking 70 degrees sounds much more pleasant for a long run than starting at 76 at 5 am.

Long story short, I ran today with plans of resting tomorrow and getting in a more pleasant long run on Saturday. That's the plan anyway.

During lunch I went ahead and got in a quick weight workout for shoulders and back. For the past week, I've been supersetting one muscle group then doing a dropset for that same muscle group before moving to the next. Example: 3x8 for lateral raise and front raise. Then dropset starting with 6 reps then 8, 10 for shoulder press.

I will say that it feels more effective for shoulders, tricps, and chest. But I am not feeling it as much (as in not really sore) for biceps and back. I know being sore isn't a surefire indicator of effort of course. Anyway, it makes for a pretty quick workout and fatigued muscles. That's a good thing.

Kale Cravings
The idea of dinner tonight was pretty easy for me. I've been craving roasted kale and had plenty in the fridge that needed to be used. That means tonight was a Roasted Kale, Tofu and Veggie Salad with Creamy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce.

Again, too hot to be thinking about using the oven, but sometimes cravings trump sensibility. Plus, this is one of those easy dishes that you just roast everything and then toss it together for the most part. The tofu can take a little longer, but you can easily substitute pre-cooked or beans.

The sauce is as easy as tossing ingredients into a food processor and blending away. No cooking involved. Maybe a little messy because I always make a mess with liquids and a processor. Lots of drips and drops. It's be smart of me to put a paper towel underneath huh?
 

Anyway, just another dinner repeat. I promise to get creative again one of these days.

Nail Art?
And speaking of creative, or just too much time on ones hands (literally in this case), can someone explain what's up with the inundation of fingernail art on Pinterest?

Some of it is kind of neat. Some is extremely garish. Some very childish. Sorry but no adult needs Hello Kitty on her nails. But the point is, who on earth has time to do that? And if you're paying someone, then I need that job to be able to afford it. 

So, nail art? Yay or Nay?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Morning run
Weight workout
Kale for dinner
Painting nails (but plain and simple)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fajita Tempeh Burgers Round Two

Morning Run
This morning the alarm seemed to go off far far too early. The seasons are changing and it's dark until about 6:15-6:20 when the light is just starting to show itself. You know, that period when the sun isn't exactly up, but the stars aren't out. The streetlights are just starting to shut off. So, that means that I didn't see light until about mile 5 of my 6 mile run. That's a lot of running in the dark.

Thankfully, my streets are mostly well lit. I love my blinking light. Kind of wish I had 2. And of course there's the mace. So, armed and ready to go, I "picked up" my running buddy around mile 2 and we took off to get in a few miles together.

The air was simply oppressive. That's really all you can say. It was so warm and humid that we actually weren't sweating buckets. I mean, we were soaked, don't get me wrong. But it wasn't streaming down our faces. Too hot to sweat? Perhaps.

I enjoyed the run, mostly because I had a great running partner. I did feel like I was struggling though with my breathing. That always makes things seem harder than they should be. We still managed a decent pace, sub 9 overall (though I know it was slower for "A"). All things considered, no complaints.

I did need to stop and stretch out my foot/calf around mile 5, but for the most part, it felt pretty good. I did use my KT Tape and used the recommended method for taping for Achilles pain. It really seemed to help relieve the ache. So then it was just the plantar fasciitis to contend with.

I plan on taping up again. Usually the KT Tape lasts several days. But I guess it just can't stick with this heat. A little disappointing though because it's not exactly cheap. However, I must say that there customer service is really fantastic. I ended up emailing them about it. Very responsive!

Fajita Burgers
"A" dropped me off at my house at my mile 6 and continued on to finish out her run. I grabbed my bathing suit and took a quick dip in the pool to try to cool down. Of course, the water was almost like bath water, but it was refreshing at least. And it feels really good to stretch in the water by the way.

Jason had an appointment after work, and I wasn't exactly sure when he'd be home. This meant something quick and simple was ideal. I did have to turn on the oven, but I just left the kitchen while the oven was on.

I had some Fajita Tempeh Burgers leftover, so I just decided to thaw those out. Just as last time, I simply sauteed onions, bell peppers, garlic and Tex-Mex style seasonings to go on top. An of course we had to have baked sweet potato fries.
 
This time I used the Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti Style Wedges. If you like jalapeƱos  you'll love this. And it melts up so nice and ooey gooey.

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Long Weekend & Deconstructed Taco Salad Bowl

Long Weekend 
I hope everyone enjoyed a nice long holiday weekend. I decided to take a break from blogging over the 3-day weekend too. Kind of a nice break. Definitely means spending more time just enjoying right?

We didn't have any major plans, no parties or cookouts. That was a-ok with me actually. I just wanted to relax, enjoy, and relax some more. I did get lots of laundry done and a few chores, but other than that...pretty darn lazy.

I got in some pretty good runs despite the insane heat. We're getting August heat in September. So indexes are reaching the 100's again and the humidity? Let's just say gills would be nice.

Saturday I stuck to a short run, 3.5 miles then got in a really good weight session for shoulders, back, chest. My chest is still sore. Jason and I ran a lot of errands Saturday then had a late lunch out. The skies weren't exactly clear, so no pool time.

Sunday I got in 7 miles, part of it with my running buddy. We had such a fun run too. We just sort of meandered through the neighborhood going down streets we might not go down alone. It was so hot out, so the periodic stops to check out a house or admire a nicely manicure yard was very much welcome. In fact, we did make a stop by my house where I grabbed some towels (half of which I ran under cold water) so we could cool ourselves down and dry off.

The sun was out in full forces, so I enjoyed some time in the pool. I guess the one good thing about the high temps is that the pool is still very much open and very inviting I must add.

In fact, the mere thought of jumping into the pool is what got me through my last mile of another 7-miler on Monday. It was already in the mid-80's by 7:30 and the sun being out certainly didn't help. I tried to keep on streets that were as shady as I could find. But by that last mile, I felt like I was simply melting into the pavement. Before stretching or even getting more water, I changed into my bikini and jumped straight into the pool. Simply bliss.

Jason joined me in the pool for some lounging and relaxing before we decided to head out for a late lunch. Most of our usual haunts were closed for the day. But we did find one pizza joint that we like that was open. The only reason we don't visit it more often is that it's clear on the other side of town from us. But, it was worth it.

So, in a nutshell: running, relaxing, lounging, eating.

Plan B
Today I had to go with a Plan B workout. My plantar fasciitis is rearing its ugly head again. It's definitely not as bad as it had been before, but it's not good. And to make things even more fun, now my Achilles is starting to bother me on the same foot.

I spent a lot of time yesterday on my Triggerpoint Therapy Kit trying to hit the triggers to help release some of the tension throughout my calf and foot. Oddly, my calf doesn't even feel tight. But when I hit that sweet spot - yowzers.

As much as I hated to back out of my planned rundate this morning with my friend, I had to listen to my body. Instead of running, I went for a low-impact Cathe MMA Kickboxing DVD along with weights for biceps and triceps. Definitely not the workout I had wanted to do, but it was the one I needed to do.

Do you have recurring injuries or do you tend to get different injuries? Clearly I was never over the plantar fasciitis entirely. And I often wonder if I ever will be. I feel like it might always be a battle I have to face as long as I run.

Deconstructed Taco Salad Bowl
I've really not been terribly inspired as far as cooking is concerned. Not sure if it's the heat, just being lazy, or what. And the thing is, I used to really love cooking up something new and unique. But lately I've just wanted to take the easier way out and go with more tried and true dishes.

Of course, that's not to say that the tried and true dishes aren't tasty. And often they're faster. So double bonus right? Tonight I took the easy way going with the Taco Tuesday theme. Themed nights definitely take the guesswork out of coming up with a meal.

I had thought about the taco salad bowls, but decided to not turn on the oven - we had a lovely heat index of 105 today, definitely not conducive to turning on an oven no matter how much I may have wanted those fun bowls. I do, however, have a toaster oven. So I just toasted up the tortillas in the toaster oven. Besides, the first thing you do with the bowl is to break it right? The breaking is already taken care of this way ;-)

I topped lettuce and spinach with a mixture of black beans, onions, bell peppers, tempeh, and corn. I seasoned it all up with the usual Tex-Mex spices like cumin, chili powder, red pepper.

As usual, I topped with lots of jalapenos and Daiya Vegan Cheese and some diced cherry tomatoes.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
Weight workout
Easy dinner