Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Back to Workout Routine and Way to Go Wednesday

Back to It
After my rest day on Sunday, I got right back into my workout routine on Monday. I did biceps and triceps and also got in a much-needed 3-mile run after work. I just wanted to test my legs out post-half marathon. They seemed to be not nearly sore enough LOL.

I kind of thought maybe it was a trick, that when I started running they'd completely revolt on me. But nope, they didn't. It felt great actually. I kept it slower and kept the miles short. See, sometimes I can do the right, practical thing.

Yesterday was another run after work. My goal was 5 miles and Jason was along for the ride. We kept it mostly flat, or as flat as we can in our neighborhood. It was a little warm, but the sun was going down so it wasn't terrible. Actually, I should have brought along a blinking light because it got dark faster than I expected.

Jason dropped off at mile 5 and I finished another mile to hit 6 miles. We had planned to go slower, but both of us were in that speedy mode still apparently and were clicking off the miles between an 8:42 and 8:44 pace. And it didn't feel like a ton of effort, so we just went with it. We'll call that my tempo run for the week.

I've been putting on my compression socks right after I get cleaned up. I honestly believe they're helping in my recovery. I had expected them to be a little tighter on my feet. Of course, when they're a size 6-8 and I wear barely a 6...that could be part of it.

But, the compression around the calves is most important. It keeps the blood moving (or that's the "science" behind it all) so the blood isn't pooling in my feet. And I think that's helping keep my plantar fasciitis under control because my feet aren't swelling up and being inflamed. And of course this is all just my theory, my experience and I've only worn them 3 times now.

I did order some calf sleeves, however, so I can test wearing those during longer runs and see how that helps. So are compressions socks/sleeves all hype? I used to think so. But now...I'm starting to believe in them.

My plan today is to get in back, shoulders, and chest after work. Maybe some kickboxing and abs as well.

Way to Go Wednesday
For Halloween, let's go with a treat with Way to Go Wednesday shout outs:

Cristina from TriathlonMami for completing her first Century Ride.

Kierston for taking 3rd place at the IDFA Open Fitness Category - a last minute decision to compete that paid off! 

Heather for finishing another half marathon (the Jazz Half in New Orleans) despite some major challenges during the race. 

Mr. Lindsay Cotter (aka James) and Lindsay's post - reminding us that injuries can give us a new perspective on fitness and what it means to be able to workout.

Who would you like to give a shout out, way to go, or thumbs up to today?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Soaring Wings Half Marathon Recap

Saturday morning I started waking up a little after 5 am. We needed to be up around 5:30 ish to start getting ready for the race. I did stay in bed until the alarm though, just letting myself slowly wake up.

I got up and got on my running outfit. I spent an entire week fretting about what to wear. It was going to be about 33 degrees at the start (sunny thank goodness), but not much of a warmup during the race. I always get so hot when I run and had to keep that in mind. I ended up going with a tank with my arm sleeves and knee-length capris.

I also wore some cheapo throw-away gloves so that my hands weren't frozen solid at the start like they were last year. I tossed them around mile, 4 but there were some winds that came up that often made me regret that choice to toss them.

I have some spirulina pills that I have been taking for early morning runs that really seem to make me alert. I had never tried anything like that until I had the opportunity to review the EnergyBits. I really and truly believe that the spirulina works. It makes you feel really alert, but not jittery or anything like you might feel from caffeine. Just simply awake. So, I had those with a rice cake smeared with lots of chunky PB and topped with a banana. Oh, and water, lots of water. 

My running buddy road up to the race with us - it's about 30 minutes from where we live. It was so dark. And so cold. We all donned trash bags to help stay warm before the start. It's a super cute look I promise ;-)

Luckily the location for this race has some great facilities: a gym with indoor bathrooms, locker rooms, and a track lots of people were using to warm up. I waited in the ladies' line for far too long and started to panic that I wasn't going to get to go OR miss the start.

Other than that minor freak out, I was pretty calm. I was just ready to start running to be honest. We lined up with the 1:55 group. I knew that would be the smartest way to start the race. If I felt good, I could break away. But I knew it'd help me not go out too fast if nothing else.

The first mile flew by, the sun was starting to rise and all you could here were thousands of feet hitting the pavement. The route takes this terrible turn (you have to go through gravel and grass and a complete sharp left turn) to get onto a trail which is way too narrow. I started to feel terribly closed in, so Jason and I tried to break away just for sanity's sake basically. I felt like I was going to trip on someone's foot or be elbowed.


Jason continued to pace faster. I had already told him that if he felt good, go for it. I wanted him to do his best and not wait on me. So I ran my own race and he ran his. The first big hill struck at mile 4. And they sort of keep coming from there on out. Some are just the long graduals, some are the quick ups and downs back-to-back, but I took advantage of the flats and the downs to help keep my pace solid.

I really felt great mentally and physically. I sort of just zoned out. I don't really remember a whole lot of the race to be honest. I was like on this really strange auto-pilot. I do remember needing to pass one guy who had on entirely too much cologne. And then being trapped between two people grunting and groaning loudly. Really annoying, but gave me the necessary motivation to go faster.

There were only 2 times when I had to fight that urge to walk - mile 8.5 and the very last of mile 11. Mile 12 is smack at the top of the last steep hill. I just kept saying, "don't do it. Slow don't but don't walk." I was on track for a PR and knew that walking would blow it. Mind over matter. Mind over matter.

As soon as I crested that Mile 12 hill, I took off taking full advantage of the downhill. I actually ended up pulling out an 8:22 for that last mile. I pushed as hard as I physically could.

I can't wait to see the pictures from crossing the line because they were butchering my last name. If I could have breathed in enough to speak, I would have told them to just stop while they were ahead. My official time was 1:53:32. That's more than a 2 minute PR for that course and about a 35 second overall PR.

I will admit that I definitely got dehydrated. I was running harder, breathing hard, and had a hard time getting in enough water. I only managed to get down about 3/4 of one Clif Gel. I needed to take 2. I just couldn't get it down and couldn't get in the water I needed to get it down. So when I crossed the finish I thought I might pass out. I grabbed a gatorade and got over to a fence to steady myself. I put my head down. Jason got me another gatorade. I got down that gel I missed and tons of water and was fine within about 10 minutes.
A sporting her daughter's hat.



My friend rocked out a 1:38:04 (I've told you all she's fast) and Jason....SOOOO proud of him...he rocked a 1:46:50!

It took forever to get out of Conway and heading back home because of the crowds all leaving. I got home and took a hot epsom-salt bath, pulled on my fancy new compression socks and went into full recover mode - that included pizza and beer before putting our feet up the rest of the evening.

Side note: today is my 3-year blog anniversary! 


Friday, October 26, 2012

Curry & Fun Facts Friday - Taper Week

Half Marathon & Curry
Tomorrow Jason and I are running in the Soaring Wings Half Marathon. This will be my 4th half and his 2nd. I did this one as my 2nd half last year. Kind of funny Jason and I are following the same path for our half marathons.

I haven't mentioned it too much, and for a reason. I tend to get myself really worked up before a race. I didn't follow a set plan like I have in the past, but did stick to a fairly typical half training routine overall.

Part of a plan includes a taper week. Most people call it Taper Madness. Usually I get freaked out too about cutting back on workouts, on my runs, on basically what's become routine. But, as I mentioned yesterday, this time....I'm trying to embrace the lower intensity week. I got in my runs Tuesday and Wednesday, I rolled, stretched, soaked in epsom-salt baths and even did yoga.

I even read up on carb loading. And not just eating tons of carbs, but the reasoning - the idea of building up a glycogen reserve. I need all the help I can get, so I took it to heart actually. That meant cutting back on fiber (we eat a TON of fiber), lowering the protein and even planning out a pasta dinner with (eek) regular old pasta.

Last night, Jason decided that a curried tofu dish over rice would be good. It was brown rice, but the veggies were reduced to carrots, onions, bell peppers and peas. I ended up having to make my own curry paste because we were out.
 
It turned out pretty good, but I think it could use just a bit of refining before I try posting it as a recipe.

Fun Facts Friday - Taper Week
For Fun Facts Friday, I thought it'd be fun to talk about the perks and a few pitfalls of taper week and how I embraced it for a change.
  • You have time to do things like make homemade curry paste.
  • I could sit back and relax, paint my nails and not feel rushed.
  • Taking espsom-salt baths felt more like something necessary not indulgent. 
  • I could "sleep in" since I was running a much shorter distance and didn't have to start as early.
  • I got to sleep in because of rest days.
  • I was much less worn out.
  • It was encouraged to eat carbs - and not just the "good" carbs either.
  • Of course, the downtime leaves more time to start to think....
  • I did pull out my race outfit by Thursday.
  • I checked the hourly weather forecasts...well...hourly.
  • I whined and freaked out to a friend (thanks for listening Jess).
  • I did let self-doubt creep in.
  • But, I didn't stress my legs running more than I should.
  • I actually did yoga twice in a single week (more than I've done in 2 years).
  • I loved coming home from work and just being done. 
Do you embrace taper week (this goes for lifting too of course) or do you freak out? Perks? Pitfalls? 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Running, Yoga, No Taper Crazies and Potatoes

Running & Yoga (Again?)
Yesterday morning I got to sleep in just a tad (like 5:40) before getting up to meet up with my running buddy. She was going to meet me just after 6, so that meant I had more time to stay in bed. And it's amazing how an extra 30 minutes can feel I must say.

My plan was for 5 miles. She was going for 6-7, so it worked out that she "picked me up" this time around. We took a route that lead us down near the river. It's always really calm and quiet at that hour down there. However, we did notice that just starting 20 minutes later meant a higher volume on the main roads. I ran past a bakery and was so confused as to why I was having to dodge so many cars pulling in and out.

It turned out to be a really good run for me. Perhaps it was the yoga and epsom salt bath from the previous evening? Maybe everything just clicked right? Not sure, but I'll take it. And I'll take the time too. My overall average was an 8:52. Not too far off from my half marathon race pace goal. Of course, holding that for 5 miles is different than sustaining for 13.1.

I decided to try the yoga, triggerpoint rolling, epsom salt bath routine again after work. Maybe I've found a cure for what ails my aching piriformis. We'll see. In the meantime, indulging in baths is a nice treat.

Potatoes for the Man
Speaking of treats, Jason loves potatoes. I think he could eat potatoes every day like I could eat kale every day. I usually only use sweet potatoes, but occasionally he'll pick up red new potatoes or fingerling potatoes.

Because I'm such a nice, loving wife (and he'd been bringing up those darn potatoes frequently), I decided to make him some roasted potatoes to go along with some Gardein Chick'n Filets.

I made an easy mustard sauce for them by simply sauteing minced red onions and garlic until soft. Adding in 1 small baby portobella minced then some no-salt vegetable broth, whole-grain mustard, Dijon mustard, agave, balsamic and apple cider vinegars, salt, pepper, thyme and letting that simmer and thicken.
I thought I had more squash or zucchini for the side. I had one yellow squash, but I did have some frozen spring veggies. So the veggie side was a mishmash of fresh squash, red bell pepper, onions and the frozen zucchini, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. Not perfect, but worked in a pinch.

No Taper Crazies
Today's workout was back and chest with some kickboxing. I really wanted to get in 3 miles, but I know deep down not running until Saturday (my half marathon) is ideal.

I haven't talked about my training much. I guess I wasn't really on a specific training plan like I've used in the past. But I followed the typical half marathon training set ups. So this week is taper week for me.

In the past, taper weeks have made me a little nuts. You hear that all the time. This time, maybe because of injuries, maybe because of the high-for-me miles (been hitting 35-36 a week), I know I need the rest from running. So I'm actually really ok with take a few days off from running.

So an easy kickboxing and the weights today, along with more stretching and rolling is exactly what I need the most. Tomorrow, I look forward to completely resting AND carb loading of course ;-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kale, Kabocha and Way to Go Wednesday

Non-Tempo Tuesday
Getting up early for yesterday morning's run was painful. Not going to even sugar coat it. It was dark, warm-ish (63 degrees), windy, and did I mention early and dark? 

The plan was for Jason and I to run to meet up with my friend A at her house. Then A and I would continue on our way and Jason would go his own way. He had a different mileage in mind. A and I did the same route as last Tuesday. It's fairly flat, just a few small hills. 

I thought this would be a last tempo run for me. I thought it would be semi-easy because I didn't run yesterday and it wasn't hilly. I was wrong. My legs just felt so heavy and never really loosened up. The fact that it felt so warm was just flat out annoying too. A was having some knee and hamstring pain so we were kind of a sad pair. 

But, we kept on going and got it done. I finished out 8 miles, not quite as fast as I'd hoped, but done and done. After work I actually made myself do some yoga before taking an epsom salt bath. Jason bought The Athlete's Guide to Yoga several years ago. It's got lots of preset workouts or you can put together your own (which is what I did to focus on flexibility).

Kale & Kabocha Love
For dinner, I decided to use up the kale, that was starting to wilt, and the kabocha squash that was staring me down. I found some red quinoa finally - Whole Foods stopped carrying it but I found a way too expensive bag at Kroger and splurged.

I love using quinoa to stuff veggies like peppers and squashes. Since the kabocha is a larger squash, I thought it'd work better just to roast it, cube it and toss it with some sort of sauce or vinaigrette.

I did some internet searching and ran across several versions of a vinaigrette using tahini. So, I used that as an inspiration for a Lemony Garlic Tahini Dressing to go with my Kabocha and Kale Quinoa.

Kabocha and Kale Quinoa 
Ingredients:
1 cup dried red quinoa (about 2 cups cooked)
To taste: salt, black pepper, parsley, thyme
1 small kabocha squash
1 bunch of kale (cleaned, stems removed, chopped)
1 can cannellini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Clean the kabocha (remove peel if you prefer), cut into half-moon strips and place on a prepared baking sheet and bake approximately 15-20 minutes. Flip and continue to bake another 15 minutes or until cooked and soft.

Toss the kale in small amont of olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake until tender (some will be crispy), turning frequently. 

While the kale and squash are roasting, cook off the quinoa per package directions, seasoning with salt, black pepper, parsley, thyme. 

After the kabocha has cooled, dice into 1-inch cubes. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the kabocha, kale, beans, quinoa, and Lemony Garlic Tahini Dressing

Lemony Garlic Tahini Dressing
Ingredients:
3 tbsp tahini
2 garlic cloves, minced then smashed into a paste
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp olive oil
Drizzle of agave or honey (to taste)
Splash of red wine vinegar
To taste: salt and thyme

Directions:
Whisk all ingredients together.
 
I really loved the creamy, lemony flavor from the dressing. I really think it paired well with the kale and squash. And I loved the textures from the roasted kale and kabocha. I thought it was a great combination.

Way to Go Wednesday
It's that time of the week again - Way to Go Wednesday. And as always, please share your shout outs!

Heather completed another full marathon - she just did Chicago on October 7. While she wanted to quit, she didn't. A must-read, motivating recap. 

Kierston for competing in her 2nd figure comp and taking home 3rd place with Physique Canada!

Jessica for her 3-year blogging anniversary!

Mr. Pavement Runner for running 38 (holy cow) miles to celebrate a friend's birthday. 

Laura (Mommy Run Fast) for reminding me that I desperately need yoga in my life and promoting yoga with an awesome giveaway. 

Tina for completing her 4th half marathon - the Runner's World Half (lots of awesome FFA's ran this one and PR'd - like Mrs. Stuftmama herself).  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Forget the Chores

Saturday
Lindsay at Cotter Crunch had an amazing post yesterday on "Thou Shalt's". It was one of those great reminder posts to stop and enjoy. Enjoy the moments at hand. And she also included this "quote" that really struck me. I think it's so easy to almost brag about how busy we are. How much we have planned, how many chores, errands, workouts, recipes....you get the point.



I have actually found myself feeling rather bad that I wasn't more busy or more productive on a weekend. But you know what? If I enjoyed it, really enjoyed it, then who cares that the laundry didn't get finished or the yard didn't get mowed?

So in reflection of this past weekend, I must say, there's no guilt for what didn't get done. Instead of vacuuming, Jason and I got in 11 miles on Saturday. We set out way too late (again) and it was warming up fast. But it was a beautiful, sunny day I'll say that much.

We zigzagged our way through the neighborhood venturing farther than we usually do. Not necessarily some of the better parts of the area, but never felt unsafe. Plus, it was nice to run down different streets for a change.

I ended up hitting my mental wall around mile 9. I was just getting hot, fatigued, cranky basically. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it past 10 miles, but I just dug deep and we got it done.

After we stretched, ate a bit, and cleaned up, we decided to enjoy a nice patio lunch at one of our favorite pizza places. It was just too nice to sit inside. So we just enjoyed the day, the time together, the nice weather.

Sunday
Sunday I got up and went out for a run. It was increasingly overcast, almost like it might rain. It never did, it was just humid. I got in 4.7 miles (this is big for me because I didn't push it to just round out to 5).

My sister came up with her kids. The plan was for me to take my niece to lunch then shopping for her birthday. Sarah ended up coming with us though, just the girls. Jason took our nephew out on their own excursion.

I let "A" pick the restaurant and she chose a place called The Purple Cow. Jason and I have only eaten there once eons ago. It's sort of like a burger and shakes place. Luckily they did have a veggie burger. A was so excited about shopping, however, that she kept saying she was full. Kids....

She wanted to go to Toys R Us so that's where we ended up. She kept telling me that it might take a while since she almost never got to come to Little Rock to shop there. She was so excited, pingponging back and forth and up and down one particular aisle. Just completely unable to settle on one specific toy of choice, or doll I should say. It was so cute to watch her excitement.

After the doll was finally chosen, we headed back home. My sister was getting her hair done and A and I were going to head over to a park. Unfortunately, there were too many kids on the playground for her liking (she's very shy) so she wanted to just walk around the park - it has ponds, ducks, geese, and nicely manicured flower beds. She seemed happy enough to do that.

My sister and nephew were staying the night as he had surgery this morning. But A had to go to school so her daddy met my sister halfway. C was super excited to be staying the night - after his big adventures with Jason. They both seemed fairly worn out from their excursion. C wanted spaghetti for dinner, so I made spaghetti (and a huge mess).

Then it was an early bedtime for all of us. So, again, the rugs didn't get vacuumed, the kitchen floor not mopped, dishes left undone. But no guilt. Enjoying the time with the kids, my sister, my husband, the gorgeous weather....that's what was most important.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Sometimes

Evening Run
After work yesterday, Jason and I got in a run. The weather was beautiful (about 68 degrees and sunny), though insanely windy. The one good thing about running around the 'hood vs down by the river, however, is that you don't have head winds for half of a run. Just bits and pieces. Also, the wind helped keep me from feeling like I was overheating.

We basically meandered and zigzagged our way through the neighborhood. There was no set plan other than to get in 7 miles. But, we fell into a really good, fairly quick pace and were able to maintain an overall 8:49. And even better...it didn't feel like a crazy hard struggle.

Luckily, I had tons of leftovers from a refrigerator special kind of dinner I made Sunday night. So leftovers it was for the evening. Perfect for a late dinner and easy clean up too ;-)

Fun Facts Friday - Sometimes
I am wondering if I should change Fun Facts Friday to Fun FOR Friday. It's not always facts, but...you get the picture. This one might be kind of a strange one, but I realized that sometimes I think about certain things, wish for certain things, act a certain way...well, ok random. But sometimes, just sometimes you want, wish, dream, think, feel.

Sometimes I...
  • Randomly crave a soda. It's very rare. I can't even recall the last time I had one. But sometimes I just want one. Luckily we don't keep them on hand. 
  • Get really really down for seemingly no reason. Thankfully it can often pass as quickly as it comes on. 
  • Don't want to workout any more. I think how much time I'd have freed up. But then I remember how it makes me feel and know that's not an option.
  • Just want to eat whatever I want and not give a care - fried pickles, fried cheese, large pizza, bag of Cheetos and maybe all at the same time even. 
  • Wish I didn't want to run so badly - I mean, it'd make it so much easier to get over injuries if I just didn't care.
  • Think I care far too much and put way more effort into friendships than I should. Maybe I should re-phrase and say with the wrong "friends."
  • Want to just totally let loose and not have a care in the world.
  • Say really stupid things. It's like I open my mouth and what comes out is not at all what's in my head.
  • Love staying home and never changing out of PJs, not having to mess with hair or makeup. 
  • Can just laugh for no reason at all. Just get tickled. 
  • Get really nervous before I go out for a run.
  • Wonder why on earth so many people are out driving at 5:30 am. Not that they probably aren't wondering what the hell I'm doing out running at that ungodly hour. 
  • Get irrationally angry when I have to stand at an intersection waiting on traffic too long. I mean, can't they move it along or perhaps stop and let me run??
So, what are your "sometimes"? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Easy Veggie Soup & Thankful Thursday

Soup is Good
Yesterday I was definitely nice resting up my tired legs. I woke up when Jason did for his early morning swim, very, so very briefly, entertained the idea of an easy run. Then I promptly fell back asleep until the alarm rudely interrupted me. Guess I needed the sleep huh?

It ended up a rainy, gloomy evening, so I threw together an Easy Veggie & Bean Soup for dinner. I used to be a soup hater, but I have since changed my ways. I realized that soups can be very hearty and flavorful when they don't come out of a can.

Easy Veggie & Bean Soup
Ingredients:
1/2 white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (only had 1/2 or would have used a whole one)
3-4 carrots (depending on size), diced
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 32 oz carton no-salt vegetable broth
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
To taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, parsley, basil, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
2 small zucchini, diced
2 small yellow squash, diced

Directions:
In a large soup pot, saute onions, peppers, carrots, and garlic until onions begin to soften.

Add in broth, tomatoes, beans, and seasonings.

Allow to simmer until the carrots begin to soften then add in the broccoli, squash, zucchini and allow to continue to cook until all veggies are tender. Re-season if needed.
I served with more of Sarena's chickpea oat flatbread. This time I added in sundried tomatoes, parsley, oregano, and basil.

Thankful Thursday
Sunday evening I posted the following on Facebook:

When people ask why someone runs, there are always so many reasons. For me, it makes me feel alive, free. And when you have injuries, the frustration....there are no words to relate to others unless they've been there. So, I will run until I simply cannot. And I will run for those who can't and I will run in honor of others Harmony Love Davis.

It came from many places in my mind and heart. Running was something I never ever thought I could do. I have pretty severe asthma. So growing up, running was never an option. Period. I danced. It was anaerobic. I could do ballet. I couldn't run. I could barely hike up a piddly mountain trail. 

I found Singulair and I ended up having to resort to running on the treadmill as I got older and ballet classes with 16 year olds became almost painful. I found running outside and eventually figured out that illusive key to running. That strange factor you simply cannot explain to anyone. Either you find it, or you don't. But when you find it, you fall in love with running.

Running isn't something I do to maintain weight or as my cardio. I mean, it is my cardio. But it's more like something I have to do. It's something I've become. And that probably makes no sense to anyone unless you run. It really is part of me, the me I am now. I am a runner <---and wow does that still sound weird to declare.

Even if you're not a runner, there is likely something in your life that is a part of you - like ballet always was for be before. And when you have injuries that prevent you from doing that passion, it's almost impossible to describe to others how it feels. It's so easy for people to tell me, "Just don't run. Do something else." Sounds simple right? But it's not so simple. It's crushing actually. It's like telling you to stop breathing to an extent. Drama queen? Perhaps. But no if you understand.

And yes, this is a rambling post, but it really does have some validation. The reason for the Facebook post was that Harmony and I connected because of the same heel problems. But her struggles are so much worse than my feet or my piriformis. Her husband has a very rare form of cancer (I posted about it previously). And running, her salvation time, well, it sucks ass when she hurts and can't have that. Her husband is sick and he can't run. But, I can.

I guess for me, even when I have really shitty runs, when I'm in a lot of pain, I try to keep a certain perspective. And when I hear about friends like Harmony...it makes me that much more determined to run. For me, for her, for her husband. (Please visit her blog and keep her and her family in your thoughts)

If you're still with me, I wanted to share what I'm thankful for today, especially in light of what Harmony and her family are going with (Ryan had surgery again on Tuesday).

I am thankful...
That I can run
That my husband, family, friends are healthy
That I have my health
That I have met some incredibly inspiring people from blogging
For my husband
For my friends
For my family

What are you thankful for today? How do you try to maintain perspective each day?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Red Beans and Tofu Burgers & Way to Go Wednesday

Tired Legs
Tuesday morning Jason and I got up dark and early. The plan was to "pick up" my running buddy at her house around 5:55 am. It was 55 degrees when we got going, but I was almost immediately too hot in a short-sleeved shirt and shorts. Sometimes I think something is wrong with me because normally I find 75 degrees a tad chilly.

Anyway, we got to "A's" house around 5:50 and the 3 of us headed on down the street together. I was planning on 8 miles, but Jason was just doing a short run, so he split off from us half a mile or so later. "A" and I sort of zigzagged our way up and down the streets.

My legs felt like lead - mostly my hamstrings. I had run 11 Saturday, 5 + weights Sunday then a fast 3 on Monday. And have I mentioned that "A" is fast LOL. For the most part I was able to stick with her, sometimes lagging behind a bit. But we still were able to chit chat the whole time at least.

I did have to make an abrupt potty stop at my house at 5 miles into the run, but then we were on our way again. I hit 8 miles at my house and she finished out 8 by the time she got back to her house. It was a tough run for me mostly because my legs felt like dead weights, but it was a good one nonetheless.

I ended up getting my hair appointment switched around so I got my hair done after work. Then I promptly went home and soaked my tired legs in an Epsom-salt bath before stretching and spending some time on my Triggerpoint Therapy Kit. I will say that as long as I keep my calves rolled out, that Achilles pain that was starting to creep up is gone.

I made up some Red Bean & Tofu Veggie Burgers for dinner. I've used the silken tofu in the past, but this time I used regular tofu (the refrigerated, extra firm variety). It turned out really good, sort of fluffy actually.

Red Bean & Tofu Veggie Burgers
Ingredients:
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 packaged extra firm tofu, patted dry and cubed
1/4 white onion, chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup (or to your personal taste) banana pepper rings
1/2-1 cup oat flour (start with 2/3 cups whole oats and grind then add more if needed)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
To taste: salt, white pepper, chili powder, red pepper, garlic powder, salt-free Spike
A few dashes of liquid smoke (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, chop up the onions and carrots until finely chopped. Add in the beans, banana peppers, tofu, seasonings. Blend until mostly smooth.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in flour, flax, nutritional yeast. Re-season if needed.

Form into patties and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes then flip and bake another 25 minutes or until firm and browned. 

I of course served with baked sweet potato fries. I topped the burgers with roasted red bell peppers,banana pepper rings, spinach, and Daiya Vegan Cheddar.

Way to Go Wednesday
Since today was a nondescript workout day for me (back/chest and some kickboxing), I thought I'd move right along to Way to Go Wednesday shoutouts.

The super cute, sweet as pie Kristin (aka Stuftmama) for kicking some booty at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco.

Tiffany also ran in the Nike Women's Marathon - she also happens to be super sweet I might add.

Krysten from Darwinian Fail for taking on her very first marathon.

Kristina (aka spabettie) for making me use words like "drool" especially with her latest drool-worthy pancakes - Blueberry Lemon.

My running partner won overall women in a 5K this past weekend and another friend ran that same 5K as her very first race. Nice job ladies!

Chime in with your shout outs please. I love to hear them!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lots of Running, Weight Lifting & A Girls' Day

Slower Long Run Saturday
Saturday morning I made it a point to sleep in. I made it to about 8 am. That's huge for me. It was incredibly foggy out, but not exactly cool. I had hoped to get going for the long run by 9:30 at the very latest. The plan was to drive down to the river trails for this run. We hadn't run near the river since May.

Jason (oh and I love him dearly) is not so quick to get going. Ever. So we didn't end up getting started on the run until close to 10:30. That wouldn't have been an issue had it not been getting hotter and hotter....oh and humid as hell.

It was about 65 degrees and heavy fog when we got started. But the humidity was literally 100%. Hello sweat factor. The plan was to make this long run a true, slow, training run. My half marathon plans always call for 10+ milers at like 9:30 or slower. I've been doing mine at more like 8:50. So the plan was 9:20. Period. Done.

Let me just say that was harder than it sounds. And crazy because we were going slower and a much flatter route. Should have felt easy peasy. But somehow, it was harder. By mile 8 I was starting to hit my mental wall again. I realized I wasn't going to get the 12 miles I was hoping for. But I did manage to get in 11.

Frustrated again. But I got it done and I did stick to the slower pace. I will say it definitely made a difference for my piriformis and plantar fasciitis issues. Mentally though? Still not good. And of course this continues to freak me out for me next half in two (eek) weeks.

After the run we got cleaned up (stretched first) then headed to a running store. Jason wear's Newton's and only one store carries them here. And they were crazy busy. I meandered around a home decor store while he went to check out new shoes. In the end, it was too busy, he was getting too hungry (as was I) so we left quickly and made an emergency lunch stop at Pizza Cafe to enjoy their patio.

Seriously, beer is the best post-long run recovery ever. I had my NUUN, my GU, my bananas, all the good stuff. Still ended up having that crashing feeling until I had some beer. I think it has to be the sugars and carbs in beer. I always want Blue Moon, but Pizza Cafe doesn't have that. So I went with Amberbock. And it works just the same as my coveted Blue Moon. I'm sure I sound like a lush. LOL.

After the perfect recovery meal, we ended up spending the rest of the evening on the couch. Jason was watching the Razorbacks vs Kentucky, but there were rain delays and such. I ended up giving up and going to bed around 9:30.

Sunday Fun(girls')day
Sunday I got up and headed out for an easy run. My plan was honestly 3-4 miles. I ended up with 5 really great miles. I should have stopped sooner, but I could have gone farther too. It was just one of those runs where everything was clicking.

I was just enjoying being outside, alone, not stressing or worrying. Just running. Simply. Running. I honestly had to stop myself at 5 miles because I could have just kept on going. I did get in some leg weights too. Very ambitious for a Sunday. 

It ended up being a girls' kind of day after the run. My bestie and I went to the mall to check out New York and Company. They had buy 1 get 1 75% off plus you could use the weekly coupon on top of that.

Then we drove out to the west side of town. I had some shoes to exchange at DSW. We also hit up a huge accessory store before stopping for lunch at a yummy restaurant called Ya Ya's. It was perfect patio weather again. So we just sat outside, had a very leisurely lunch with some wine. It ended up being a fairly long lunch, partially because of the very slow waiter but at least he gave us very large wine pours ;-) to compensate for things like forgetting to bring our hummus (twice).

Monday
I had planned on doing weights at lunch. But Jason and I ended up heading out for a 3-mile run. It was sunny and warm. But it wasn't terribly humid at least. I wasn't sure how my legs were going to react after a weekend of running and weight lifting.

But, I guess it's what they needed. We managed to knock out 3 miles with an overall 8:31 pace. The last mile was actually an 8:21 which surprised the heck out of me considering it was the return home which always means uphill to some degree or another.

I was tempted to just put my weight workout off until tomorrow. But went ahead and knocked it out. I knew it wouldn't take terribly long and I'd be glad I did it once I got going. It was a simple, basic I should say, set up for shoulders, biceps, triceps. I went with trisets of 3x8.

TS#1
Overhead press
Dumbbell curls
Lying triceps extensions

TS#2
Lateral raises
Cross-body curls
Double-arm overhead triceps extensions

TS#3
Front raises
Zottman curls
Weighted triceps dips

My arms were trembling by the end of this one. I did spend some time on my Triggerpoint Therapy Kit and stretching - trying to make amends with my legs.

Dinner tonight is still being decided. But, I'll leave you with some cool butterfly pictures Jason took on Saturday. They were just congregating.
 
 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Finding Positives About Fall

Perfect Run
Yesterday, after work, Jason and I had planned a run. Honestly, I was kind of in a funk and would have been happy to put the run off. But, I also knew that I needed to run Thursday rather than Friday since I was planning a long run for Saturday. Oh the plotting and planning a runner does.

The sun had finally come out so it was a little warmer than I'd hoped for - right at 70 degrees. But it wasn't humid and as the sun was going down, it was more comfortable. The plan was for 5 easy miles. Easy was the operative word of the day.

I've been pushing really hard for my runs, even on my long runs. I've gotten way too caught up in hitting a PR for my next half. So today was all about enjoying the run. Easy, no strings attached.

We actually talked a lot more than we usually do. And taking it easier definitely made it less of a struggle/fight. We ended up with 6 miles and it was just what I needed not just for confidence, but also for my body. Perfect way to cap off Thursday. Not only was it letting go of the work day, but it was enjoying the fresh air, the sunshine, and the company of my husband.

Fall
I know everyone seems to be extremely stoked for fall. Everyone is talking about the cooler weather, the fall foliage, and pumpkin everything. Don't get me wrong, the changing foliage can be gorgeous (unless you live in a state that had severe heat and droughts), pumpkin is amazing, and cooler temps are definitely more ideal for running.

However, I am probably the 1-2 percent who are not so happy with fall. I mean, it can be dreary. The leaves falling off treas and plants is kind of depressing. And it's sooooo dark. All.The.Time. 

Though, I'll take fall over winter any old day, so I guess that's one plus for fall. Trying to be positive here. So, in keeping positive about the demise of summer, here are my positives about fall for Fun Facts Friday.
  • 55-60 degrees for running = perfect. However, warmer during the day would make me happier. Just sayin'.
  • The trees changing is pretty, I'll give everyone that. 
  • Boots. While I miss my toes being free, I love me some boots - tall, short, booties, flat, heels....you get the picture. I have some similar to these that I scored a sweet deal on from ebay (under 30 bucks including shipping)
  • Chili. Fall is definitely Chili Season. And I'll take it red, white, green, orange, as long as it's meat-free of course. 
  • Fall will make you appreciate randomly warm, sunny days.
  • Not having to get up at the butt crack of dawn even on weekends to get in a run before it's 100 degrees. 
  • Pumpkin beer. Enough said.
Are you one of the many who adores fall? Are you sad to see summer go? Tell me some of your favorite things about fall.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Unplanned Run



I'm thankful I ran - unplanned and probably when I shouldn't  have.

Yesterday morning I had not planned on getting up to run. I had even told my running buddy that I was going to try to do an easy 4 at lunch because my legs were screaming at me after Tuesday's tempo run.

Jason, however, had his alarm set early for his 5:30 am swim class. I had not slept well at all, and simply couldn't go back to sleep after he left. I finally decided to get up and go for my 4 miler. I mean, I was already up after all.

I texted my friend and told her I'd wave at her as I passed by her house (the area we normally do our 800's). Then I set out for a very dark run. I ended up wearing full Brooks Nightlife gear - even though I knew I'd end up being hot, I still wore the long-sleeve top with my shorts for extra safety factor. Seriously, the Nightlife gear is the best for visibility!

I ended up seeing "A" coming towards me in front of a group of walkers. I waved, thinking she was going to just continue on. She yelled out that she had fallen. I stopped immediately and asked if she was ok. She kind of kept going, so I thought she was fine. But she ended up stopping and circling back. She honestly seemed really dazed, maybe still in shock.

She had a knee band on and took that off to inspect the damage. Poor thing had taken a solid sliding dive and scraped up both knees and elbow thanks to a blob of asphalt that she tripped on. We kind of talked for a minute and I thought she was going to be nutso and go do her 800's. I told her my planned route and she decided to hang with me. We did stop back by her house so she could use her water bottle to rinse off the scrapes.

So this morning, even though my legs hurt like absolute hell and I had no intentions of a morning run, I realize that sometimes things really and truly do happen for a reason. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no martyr or savior here. I didn't do anything incredible mind you. But I think I showed up at just the right time. I have never been more ok with not being able to go back to sleep and with going ahead and getting out for an early run.

I think it was good that I met up with her and then, of course, I had some great company for a few miles.

I'm not always the person who holds stock in things always happening for a reason. But sometimes, just sometimes I truly believe they do. So maybe I shouldn't have pushed it and ran, but I'm so glad I did.

Do you think everything happens for a reason or just some things? Have you had something happen similarly?

So, my Thankful Thursday is actually from Wednesday, but that still counts right?



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Green and White Tempeh Chili & Way to Go Wednesday

Green and White Chili
Monday night I made my White Tempeh Chili. Since it's technically more green I suppose I'll stop calling it white, how about Green and White Tempeh Chili? I also made more of Sarena's chickpea oat flatbread with green chile and jalapeno peppers (sorry for the terrible pictures)




Green & White Tempeh Chili
Ingredients:
1/2 white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
2-3 jalapenos, minced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 package tempeh, crumbled
32 oz low-sodium vegetable stock 
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
To taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, red pepper, cilantro

Directions:
In large sauce pot, saute onions, peppers, jalapenos, tempeh, and garlic until begins to soften. Add in the stock, beans, and spices. Let simmer for about 45 minutes or longer to allow the liquid to cook down and chili to thicken.

I promise it tastes way better than it looks!

Running Time Change & Fast Stir-Fry
Tuesday morning I simply could not drag myself out of bed to meet my running partner. I feel totally lame, but it was cold (42 degrees) and so very very dark. I'm ready for the time change so maybe getting up won't be so painful.

I had thought about getting in a run at lunch perhaps, but then Jason said he'd run with me if I waited on him to get off work. 5:30 pm running? I've been doing 5:30 am since May so this was a huge switch in the schedule to say the very least.

There are some pros to waiting until midday or after work. For starters, it's light outside. No worries about tripping and falling or strangers lurking, hidden in the bushes. The one big downfall is that there is more traffic. That means frequent (and longer) stops at intersections. It also means you're fatigued from a full day at work. In the morning you're just groggy. There is a difference.

I had intended the run to be on the easier side. I think part of my hitting the wall is coming from pushing too hard during long runs. What happened was the run ended up being more of a hilly temp run. The first 2 miles were at an 8:50, but then we ended up falling into a faster pace. Not necessarily intentionally, but just going with it. So 6 miles ended up being under my goal race pace for my half marathon giving us an 8:44 overall average.

Not bad, but not at all as I had intended. And man my legs were screaming at me. Felt like I had done about a million and one deadlifts thanks to crossing bridges and going up a forever long ascent back home. And of course I know what doing a million and one deadlifts feels like right ;-)

Do you find that you change your workout times based on the season changes?

With later runs or workouts come a much later than normal dinner. I had plenty of time to make some brown rice before Jason got home. And then I threw together a super quick stir-fry after our run. I took the help of frozen veggies and Light Life Spicy Sweet & Sour Cutlets.

I had picked them up on clearance just for purposes like this - definitely faster than pressing, marinating, then cooking off tofu. (Do note that they are not vegan as they contain egg whites.)

I tried to replicate a similar spicy, sweet, sour sauce that the cutlets came in by combining sriracha, agave, garlic powder, rice wine vinegar, plum sauce, soy sauce, and orange juice.

Way to Go Wednesday
Now let's get down to the real business - Way to Go Wednesday! Here are my shout-outs, kudos, high-fives and hugs for the week.

Jessica (and her hubby) for taking on their first marathon this weekend - the Chicago Marathon.

Lindsay for taking assisting in Operation Sherpa - Get Jess her Healthy Bites!

Heather for running the Chicago Marathon with her sister.

Jolene for being the onsite sherpa for her sister and brother-in-law. And for stepping back ;-)

Sarena for successfully getting me addicted to her chickpea oat flatbread.

Betsy for infusing some humor into that crazy thing we call taper week.

Amanda for reminding me that you sometimes must resist that temptation to add on those extra miles.

Your turn - who do you want to give a shout out to? 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Recap - Sister Time, Running, Sherpa-ing

Well, we went from Summer to our form of Winter within a few hours on Friday. By 7pm it had gone from 85 degrees to 40's. Rain, lots of rain.

My sister was in town for a conference so she stayed the night. I made some chili as well as more of Sarena's chickpea flatbread. This time I added in green chile peppers, chili powder, red pepper, garlic, salt and pepper. It was so flipping good. Seriously, you gotta check out her recipe!
The rest of the night....well.... Basically, we stayed up way too late, drank way too much wine, and laughed our butts off.

Saturday morning was gray and gloomy and right when Jason and I were ready to head out for a run, the storms started. Thunder, lightening, small hail, wind...oh and it was about 43 degrees. So, long run was thwarted. Luckily, I do have access to our company's gym. It's not the best gym, but it's free, convenient, and a really nice perk.

So, I ended up getting in 4 miles on the treadmill then back and abs. And from my vantage point I got to watch everyone driving downtown all sorts of confused. There was a Food Truck Festival going on and clearly these people were not used to driving downtown. Going the wrong way....turning left from far right on one way...running lights...I was glad to be inside and not out there with the crazies.

We ended up meeting up with our friends for a really late lunch. My friend "C" had just finished her test for court reporting, so she was really in need of some time with friends and a drink.

Sunday morning was sunny and cool. I spent most of the morning glued to my computer. Not normal for me on the weekend, but for a very good reason. My friend Jess and her husband were running their first marathon - the Chicago Marathon.

I wanted to see how they were doing before I headed out for my long run with Jason. And it worked out waiting longer. I got in 12 miles, but 10 of them would have been Jess' last 10. I was sending out some major sherpa vibes the whole time hoping she could feel it all the way in Chicago.

It was probably about 56 degrees and mostly cloudy, rather breezy when we set out for our run. We decided to head towards a neighborhood called Hillcrest. Notice it has the word "hill" in the name right? Ok, so hilly. But somehow we were managing a decent sub-9 pace. But it wasn't easy. And it took a toll on my piriformis.

We made it back near our house at 9.2 miles. I simply had to stop and stretch (and potty). I took the chance to check on Jess' status before heading back out. I had really wanted to get in 13 miles. But we ended up with 12.

I was a little frustrated to be honest. I could have gotten in that last mile, but it was going to be fairly miserable. So, I worry about the next half. I worry that running higher miles just isn't in my future no matter how much I want it. It just doesn't seem to get easier at all. And I just don't know what to do about the pain.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Travel Lessons

In light of my recent trip to San Diego (Part 1 and Part 2) I thought it'd be fun to do a Lesson's Learned kind of run down for Fun Facts Friday.
Sunset at Mission Beach

I think every time I travel I learn something new, better ways to make, or things to not pack. How to take fewer pairs of shoes, pack lighter, more efficient. Then there are things I totally forget that I had previously learned.

  • Cold water should be a given - when you don't have a room fridge, you suddenly realize how much you miss something so simple. 
  • Flip flops are comfortable, but not when you're hiking the San Diego Zoo, Mission Beach, the Gaslamp District, or any other entire city area for that matter. 
  • Sticking with the same color scheme is a big win. Fewer shoes, fewer accessories. Win win.
  • Cardigans of varying weights are a girl's best friend when traveling. 
  • Pack extra chapstick, always pack extra.
  • Zip loc baggies are great to have on hand.
  • Oatmeal, your measuring cup, PB packets, protein powder, cinnamon, stevia + the room's coffee maker gives you an instantly healthy breakfast when you don't have a microwave.
  • Always pack extra power bars, protein bars, energy bars, whatever you call them, pack 'em.
  • Did I mention comfy shoes? I'm a stickler for fashion, so any ideas for cute AND comfy....
  • Google map is my BFF - I can find all the public transportation stops, pinpoint Trader Joe's, know the location of a grocery store, wine store, veggie restaurant.
  • Pack extra plastic ware (spoons, forks, knives).
  • Bring your own water bottles. You can refill at fountains or buy a gallon jug to refill them with.
  • Extra napkins are smart.
  • But one big lesson I've learned was that you really can buy most anything you might have forgotten. So make sure you have your meds, contacts, glasses and anything else? Try not to sweat it ;-) This coming from the person who packs her own oatmeal including bowl. 

What are some of your travel tips/lessons?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Be Thankful, Happier for the Seasons

Italian Style & Morning Run
Last night I decided to make more of Sarena's Chickpea Oat Flatbread. I've been thinking about it ever since the first time I tried it. I also want to try making it spicy to go with chilli. YUM.

This time I added in sundried tomatoes, fresh oregano and basil. I also added in garlic powder. An Italian spin to go with an Italian inspired dinner.

I made a red sauce and tried something new - crumbled in tempeh to make it a "meat" sauce. I served it over spaghetti squash with a side of the flatbread.
 

This morning I managed to tear myself out of bed to meet up with "A" for a run. I have been so fatigued since my San Diego trip. Part of me really wanted to put it off until lunch, but I knew that it was going to be really warm and I'd just end up complaining about how hot it was.

Also, I knew I'd be happier with myself for getting the run done. Plus, it's hard to turn down 45 - 60 minutes of nice conversation in the morning. Great way to start the day I think. But I can assure you I will be very very glad to take my rest day tomorrow and sleep in a bit longer.

Thankful Thursday
I've seen a few posts recently reminding me to be more thankful (Cotter Crunch), to embrace the seasons (Living with Healthy Hunger) and happier (Happy Fit Mama). So, even though I typically my Daily-To Enjoy List, I thought a Thankful Thursday sure wouldn't hurt.

I mean, when we consciously try to remember to be thankful, grateful, happy, sometimes it's easier to let those downer moments supersede the good. Those little things should outweigh the bad, but somehow it tends to be the other way around.

So even though things aren't perfect, there are things to be happy and thankful for and it's important to remember the seasons bring change, ups/downs and a chance for change.

Today I am thankful for:

The chance to run
A husband who doesn't mind cooking
My friends
My family
My health and the health of my loved ones (very grateful as others aren't so fortunate)
Having had the chance to go to San Diego and attend a great conference
Friends I can trust to watch my crazy furbabies

What are you most thankful for today, this week, even this year?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rambling, Running and Way to Go Wednesday

Some Rambling
Hope you enjoyed my San Diego Recaps (Part 1 and Part 2). Sometimes it's nice to deviate from the normal posting styles. Honestly, I've been enjoying doing that a lot more recently. 

I mean, how exciting is it to hear me blab on about running or other workouts and basic dinners all the time? Now, new recipes? That's a different ballgame of course. I know not everyone is into running and not everyone cares to see my weight lifting set up. 

Of course, that's not to say those things weren't going down this week. Monday I was planning a low-impact kind of workout. It was a LONG day and I was feeling the affects of travel. But the weather was pleasant enough, or so I thought (about 72, breezy, sunny). So, I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door with no real mileage in mind. 

8 miles later I made it home. It wasn't an easy run. It was actually kind of hard and hot. My legs were heavy, I was fatigued. But the more I ran, the better I felt, in a very odd almost sadistic way mind you.

Tuesday morning I met my running buddy, who I've been missing, for a short run. My intention was 4 miles, but the route ended up putting me at 5 miles. I won't lie, when I first stared running I though I was going to just have to turn around and beg for forgiveness for ditching her.

But, once we got going, things loosened up and we of course chatting helped. I actually managed an 8:48 overall pace, which I was pleased with considering how I felt at the start. After work I got in biceps and shoulders as well as some ab work and lots of stretching for my tired, heavy legs.

Jason made dinner - a vegan Tofu Pho. I really don't know exactly what all he put in there, but I know there were mushrooms, tofu, bok choy, fresh jalapenos, ginger, lime juice and other spices. He served it over rice noodles.
 
Today was a no-run day for me. I definitely needed some cross-training - this means kickboxing for now plus weights for back and triceps. 

Way to Go Wednesday
Now on to more important things. It seems like everyone has been liking Way to Go Wednesday, so here we go again. And don't forget to send a shout out or two of your own in the comments!

Angela (Happy Fit Mama) for taking on the Smuttynose Half Marathon (in the rain no less). 

Morgan for sharing her 2-month progress pics. Hard work pays off. 

For Lindsay reminding me again to be thankful.

To Laura (Mommy Run Faster) for sticking to one super important goal of paring down computer time and trying CrossFit.

Oh, and before I go, I gotta thank Lydia at Healthy Happy Confident for hosting a fantastic giveaway for Honey Stinger Chews. I got my winnings in just in time to try a few chews after my hot 8-miler. I tired the Pink Lemonade and loved the flavor. It wasn't over-powering and I love how easy the chews are to actually chew. Some can be really gummy. Do you like chews/chomps? I usually go with gels/gus, but these are fantastic.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

San Diego - Part 2


Saturday morning was originally supposed to have included a run at Mission Beach. Instead, we chose to take the morning slower then got in a 4 mile run on the same path near the hotel we ran Wednesday. Honestly, 4 was all I had the heart for. Definitely felt very fatigued.

We ended up going to the San Diego Zoo before going to Mission Beach. It worked out perfectly really. Kristin from Stuftmama and I had been planning to meet up somehow, some way on Saturday. And it ended up that the Zoo worked out great. It was fun for her cute cute cute twin boys and it we had plenty of time to visit. 

Jason and I got there about an hour before we were supposed to meet up with Kristin, so we took the opportunity to take a walk around Balboa Park, or part of it anyway. It's such a beautiful area with so much to see. 
 
 
We met up with Kristin and her boys and headed into the Zoo. They needed to take a potty break, so we decided to just meet up at the Panda exhibit since the boys both wanted to see that one and it was recommended to us as a must see as well. 

Of course, on the way, we encountered tons of other exhibits. There's just so much to see it's almost impossible to take it all in.
 
 
 
Kristin is an absolute doll I must say. I am so thankful that we had the time to spend together, that she made the time to trek over to the zoo. I mean, it's kind of humbling to have someone do that for you, you know? And, she's as sweet and peppy as I expected. If we lived closer to each other, I have no doubt we'd hang out often. And when I grow up, I want her arms by the way ;-) 
The boys were troopers and lasted close to 2 hours before it was almost meltdown time. So, Kristin headed out before that happened and Jason and I continued to walk around a little while longer.
After trekking around the zoo (only making it through maybe half at most), Jason and I then boarded the bus, then another train, then another bus to hit Mission Beach. By the time we got there we were both getting a little cranky (hello hungry horrors kicking in). 
 
Of course, we walked down to the water and enjoyed toes in the sand before find a spot that had at least one veggie friendly item - Coaster Saloon. Oh and beer, cold beer always takes the edge off when in doubt. It wasn't the best food on the planet, but it wasn't bad. We started with the chips and salsa, which was more like a pico de gallo (so very fresh). 

Jason tried some fish tacos and we split a vegetarian pizza that was loaded with broccoli, portobellos, tomatoes. Really good. Then we took a stroll down the beach walk to watch the sun dip into the Pacific Ocean before making the long trek (including a very crowded bus ride) back to our hotel. 
 
 
Sunday morning we were up and out early. The flight was supposed to leave at 9:30 but was delayed until 10:40. Then when we landed in Dallas, the next flight ended up being delayed 2 hours. By that time I was ready to be home, close to a total meltdown, nearly in tears. Terminal A is not the place for a vegetarian by the way. Thank goodness for TGI Fridays. I've never been to their restaurants, but they did have a fantastic hummus platter AND black bean veggie burger. Oh, and much much needed cold Blue Moon ;-)
 
The trip was a good one. But definitely fast and furious. I definitely have mixed feelings about San Diego too. I just knew I'd fall in love and want to move there. In some respects, I do, in others not really. Maybe because of being there for work not so much vacation and not having the time to really and truly soak it all up. 

Don't get me wrong, it's gorgeous, the weather is amazing, and um there's the beach of course. It was definitely a smaller city than I expected and I really expected some flipping fantastic cuisine. But maybe we just didn't get the 411 on where to go for that. Don't get me wrong please, we enjoyed it. Would love to go back. Would recommend it to anyone else too. 

The social media conference was fantastic, but also draining at the same time as those things can be. I really feel like I learned so much. There were some amazing speakers. And, I met some amazing people, had the chance to enjoy an amazing city (with my husband), but in the end, I was so ready to be home. Traveling is great, but home is even better (though, Jason and I do want the mattress and pillows from Doubletree, some sort of dream something or other).

Monday, October 1, 2012

San Diego Recap - Part 1

As I mentioned, Tuesday morning we flew out really early (6:30 am) to head to San Diego for the Social Fresh West conference. It was my first California trip and first social media conference.

The flights were mostly uneventful other than the first leg having an obnoxiously annoying couple behind us who bickered, complained, argued the entire time. Thank goodness it was the short leg of the trip!

The 2-hour time difference meant that we landed in CA at only 10:30 am, that gave us a good deal of time to check out the city on our first day. After checking into the hotel (Doubletree Mission Valley was awesome by the way), we got on the cleanest train I've ever been on and headed to the Gaslamp District.
We wandered around until the hunger overtook us. We stopped at Barelymash, a place I had found searching around online. They had veggie friendly fair, cold beer, and an outdoor patio. That's all we needed. 

We got their Pretzels n' Dip platter with amazing bread made from barley. I was expecting actual soft pretzels but these were just fine. Incredibly flavorful bread.We also got their veggie burger to share which was fantastic. This was definitely our sort of hangout. And it was even nicer because they had several veggie options to go along with a fun but laid back atmosphere.
 
We wandered around a little more before heading to the baseball park. Jason had gotten tickets for the Padres vs Dodgers game, which started at 3:30, which was perfect timing for us. The weather was simply perfect and the ballpark is really amazing. They have lots of vegetation as well as views of the ocean.

And the funniest thing were the pigeons that were congregating out on the field with the players. I tried to get a pic but it didn't turn out. They absolutely did not care that their was a baseball game going on all around them.
 
 
 
We made it back to the hotel and were both pretty pooped so we ended up ordering Domino's in. Sometimes all you want is to just be done for the day.

The next day we got up and ran. Luckily there was a pretty nice path that followed along the San Diego River. We managed to get in 6.5 miles then it was time for me to start the conference. I did have a break at one point at which time Averie came by the hotel so we could finally meet.

We were both bad bloggers and totally forgot to get a picture. We were too busy gabbing at record speed since we didn't have much time to visit. It was really great to meet her after about 3 years of knowing each other through blogging.

And speaking of blogging, there was another blogger there that is also a fellow FitFluential Ambassador - Tiffany from Heavy Medal (Home of the Running Hutch). I am so glad to have met Tiffany. She's an absolute sweetheart. And it was great talking with a fellow runner and someone who values the benefits of lifting weights (she's into CrossFit). 
The conference didn't end until about 6 on Thursday. It was really just a long long day so we chose to go to a sports bar - Randy Jones - next door for dinner rather than get out and about. The time change was catching up with us for sure. And I must say that the sports bar had lots of veggie options including the date salad I ended up getting, which was really very good I must add.

Friday morning I got up and took advantage of the hotel's awesome gym. Seriously the best hotel gym I've ever seen. There were 4 treadmills all with tv options or music and 4 ellipticals plus free weights as well as cable machines. I used the elliptical for about 20 minutes then did a full-body weight workout, and added on 2 tempo miles on the treadmill. Then it was back to business (aka back to the conference).

The conference ended a little after 4 on Friday, so we had more time to get out and explore again. From Averie's suggestion, we headed to the Hillcrest area. It's definitely a vibrant, eclectic area. We ended up stopping at a wine bar called The Wine Lover where I enjoyed a fantastic tempranillo and Jason tried their intense red flight. 
 
After wandering around some more, we ended up at the Crest Cafe randomly. We ordered their veggie chilli and bamboo basket of steamed veggies. The chilli was really tasty. It's so rare I can get chilli anywhere other than when I make it myself. 

This post is already long enough and I haven't even talked about the conference or the rest of the trip. So....Stay tuned for part 2 (lots more pictures).