Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cathe's XTrain Workouts + Way to Go Wednesday

Workouts
Before I get into Way to Go Wednesday, I thought I'd talk for a minute about workouts. I haven't really been talking about them much lately.

I did manage to get in a 5-mile run this morning with my running partner. Despite the dark and cold, I was looking forward to it. I haven't run since Friday because of severe plantar fasciitis pain in my left foot. Saturday and Sunday were spent literally hobbling around. In fact, the left side of my calf is sore from said hobbling.

I've been icing and rolling and stretching and as of yesterday, I could finally put weight on my foot and walk mostly like a normal being. So, this morning I decided to test it out. The plan was to do 4-5 miles depending on how my foot felt.

I won't lie and say it didn't hurt at all. It was slightly achy, but then it chilled out until right at the end of the run. So I definitely stopped in time. 5 miles was the max and I was honestly happy with that. I spent a good deal of time icing and rolling out my foot for the rest of the day (even at work).

Other workouts have included some time on my bike trainer and trying out some of Cathe's XTrain DVDs. Seriously loving these workouts so far. I can't wait to share my full review (I have one coming I promise). 

I've been able to try out: Super Cuts, Biceps/Triceps, Legs, Chest, Back & Shoulders, Hard Strikes and Tabatacise. Wow and wow. Cathe never fails to deliver amazingly effective workouts plain and simple. 

Way to Go Wednesday

Heather at Running with Sass just completed her 19th half marathon!

Kristin at Stuftmama for another kickbutt half marathon time, hello 5th overall and 2nd place in age group!

Kierston at CandyFit is now an official Daydreams Fitness Wears Sponsored Athlete.

Liana at Run to Munch for finishing an insanely difficult marathon and still managing a fantastic sub-4 hour time. This girl is straight up badass!

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soups Gallore - Creamy Tomato Basil and Tofu Noodle

Tomato
Jason really likes tomato soup. He always mentions make it, but when I've tried in the past, it's been a less than stellar effort. I mean, it was definitely edible. But by no means a spectacular recipe to repeat over again.

So when he brought it up again, I almost said, "no." But I gave it one more shot. And, I'm glad I did. This one turned out so much better than previous versions. Jason went back not only for seconds, but thirds. I call that a success.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Ingredients:
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
To taste: salt, pepper, basil

Directions:
In a soup pot, saute onions and garlic for approximately 8-10 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, combine tomatoes, beans, sauce, onions, garlic, seasonings. Blend until completely smooth adding in a bit of water if needed.

Return to soup pot and simmer on low until heated through.
I served Grilled Dayia Cheese sandwiches on the side because you have to have a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup right? And if you're wondering about the red on the sandwich...ketchup!

Tofu
While I was on a soup roll, I decided to get creative with the diminished fridge and pantry items on hand. We waited two weeks before going to the grocery store to stock up again, so pickings were getting slim.

I had made some ciabatta bread and we had some cooked rice noodles that needed to be used. I had one last package of tofu as well. I decided to do a vegan take on Chicken Noodle Soup with a Tofu Noodle Soup.

Tofu Noodle Soup
Ingredients:
2-3 carrots, diced
1/2 medium white onion, diced
3 tbsp minced garlic
2 1/2-3 cups water
1 not-chik'n bouillon cube
To taste, salt, black pepper, parsley
1 package extra firm tofu, pressed, cubed and baked until firm
2 tsp Vegetable Flavor Soup Base (or another bouillon cube would work)
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups pre-cooked/soaked rice noodles cut in half

Directions:
In a large soup pot, saute onions, carrots, and garlic until the onions begin to soften. Add in the water, bouillon cube, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then stir in the soup base and then drop the temperature back to a simmer adding in the tofu.

Allow to simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the carrots have softened. Stir in the peas and noodles and allow to cook 5 minutes.
This turned out so much better than I expected. I know that with the tofu and the rice noodles you immediately think of an Asian type of soup. But this is definitely not Asian inspired.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Don't Stop Believing


Well, I wish I could come into Monday's post raving about some awesome runs or even crazy 14-mile adventures. But, I can't. I didn't run this weekend. I won't run today. I may not run again until my half marathon on Sunday (fingers crossed I can then).

After my 10-mile run on Friday, my left foot seized up. Hello there plantar fasciitis. We meet again. I won't pretend that it hadn't been acting up. It has been. But I've been babying my foot. Icing, rolling it out, rolling out my calves, stretching like it was my job.

During the run on Friday, it wasn't bothering me terribly. It hurt a little here and there, but nothing sidelining. But the minute I stopped running, I was literally hobbling along. I've iced it, stretched it, and stayed off of it as much as possible.

I did get to try out some of the new Cathe Xtrain DVDs at least. I'll call that the upside of this for now. Hello DOMS.

I was talking to my sister on the phone about the race. And about just simply being so frustrated at everything: piriformis issues, plantar fasciitis, oh and that pesky blood clot situation. I had such high hopes of a great race on Sunday. I've been working so hard. My speed has increased. My endurance and stamina have increased. And now this. Just one more thing.

Yes, I've cried, I've cursed (a lot), I've moped. But I'm going to have to just suck it up and deal with it. Plain and simple. It kind of is what it is I suppose. I can wallow or find an upside right?

Well, then my sis sent me this picture.
She was in a really low place when she saw this and stopped and took a picture of the sign. Talk about a true sign huh? Not only is it a beautiful reminder, but it also made me realize that others are going through bad things too. She's hit some major low points and come through them. I will too.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fun For Friday - Loving, Thankful For, Enjoying

Happy Friday friends. Don't know about you, but I was beginning to wonder if this day would make a appearance this week. It just felt like the week was dragging on forever. I don't know if part of it was getting in some early morning runs again or what.

What I do know is that it's Fun For Friday! I don't have any brilliant inspiration or even a coherent topic. It's just a random, "fun" post. We don't need anything serious today right?
  • This showed up in the mail yesterday and it made my Thursday. It's Cathe's latest series - XTrain. I can't wait to try out the workouts and share my thoughts with everyone! 

  • Soup has been "what's for dinner" a few times this week. So, I have some new recipes to share next week for a Creamy Tomato Soup and a Tofu Noodle Soup
  • I am so very lucky to have met such a wonderful running partner and friend. We got in 10 miles before work today. Despite the freezing temps and then the fog so heavy we were dripping wet, it was a great way to start the day and kick off the weekend.
  • I am also lucky to have a hubby who will run with me. This week we enjoyed a beautiful sunrise together - again, not a bad way to start off a day.
  • You know how they say to get rid of something you haven't worn in a year? Well, don't. I have on a sweater I bought 3 years ago and had yet to figure out how to wear it (cardigan type deal). Finally figured it out!
  • Ice can be a runners BFF. Oh, and a golf ball and Triggerpoint Therapy Kit. 
  • I am officially addicted to The Clymb. They have some fantastic deals on fitness apparel, gear, and more. I just got in a new spiffy cycling outfit I can't wait to wear! And I ordered some more Mizuno running tops. 
What are some of the things you're loving, thankful for, or enjoying this week?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beautiful Sunrise for Morning Run

Sky On Fire
This morning I peeled myself out of bed to get in a run before the sleet moved into town. "A" and I were going to run after work, but Mother Nature had other plans. She couldn't run in the morning, so I was going to head out solo.

But, Jason said he'd give it a shot. So we headed out into the cold, windy morning around 6 am. The skies are starting to get lighter around 6:20 am though. Such a refreshing change.

And as much as I hate the cold weather, there's something quite invigorating about a cold run. It was in the low 30's - not sure what the windchill was at that time, but looks like mid-20's - as long as we weren't heading north into the freezing, heavy wind, it wasn't too bad.

What made it all worth it was the sunrise. It was simply spectacular. It looked like the sky was on fire with the deepest pink, almost red creeping up from the east. I wanted to take a picture, but didn't think I could get a good one with my phone. Plus, that would have meant halting our pace/rhythm and fumbling with pulling off gloves.


However, a running friend did take the time to get a picture and she said I could use it for the post. And, like she said, even this doesn't do the sunrise the justice it deserved.

I'd say that sure made getting up early and running in the cold absolutely worth it.


Way to Go Wednesday
Now, time for Way to Go Wednesday shout outs! Don't forget to share your shout outs please.

Averie from Averie Cooks has a new cookbook out - Peanut Butter Comfort. I have a feeling it's just the first of many to come from this awesome friend!

Mr. Pavement Runner is at it again with a recent half marathon PR!

Melissa at Live, Love and Run for getting her NASM Personal Trainer Certification!

Jolene at Determined to Be for a secret I can't share (no babies), but wanted to send her a congrats anyway ;-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Italian Style Baked Cauliflower

I saw this recipe for Baked Italian Cauliflower at Daily Food Buzz and thought it sounded really tasty, and easy to make. Even better, Jason had just picked up cauliflower at the grocery store.

Of course, I had to put my own spin on the dish. I decided to use my Tofu Ricotta in lieu of the meat, add in some red bell peppers and then top with Daiya for a vegan version.

Italian-Style Baked Cauliflower
Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
To taste: parsley, basil, oregano, salt
1 jar of spaghetti sauce - use as much as you like (I used a homemade version)
1 recipe for Tofu Ricotta
Daiya Vegan Mozzarella (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the cauliflower with seasonings and olive oil and place in a glass baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until just slightly browned.

Remove cauliflower from oven and add on a layer of the bell peppers then the tofu ricotta. Top with spaghetti sauce and sprinkle on the Daiya.

Cover the dish and allow to bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

 
 
This turned out so fantastic. I love cauliflower to begin with, but roasting it always adds an additional depth of flavor. The tofu ricotta adds an additional texture that makes you really feel like you're eating a pasta dish. Definitely a winner. 

To continue with the Tasty Tuesday Theme, I also made a sweet treat for Valentine's Day for Jason. Lisa at Thrive Style has several posts including some fantastic looking peanut butter cups. She posted another one on Valentine's Day - Chocolate Coconut Crunch Bars.

I'm not a big choco-holic or coconut lover, but the recipe was crazy simple and I knew I could omit the shredded coconut. I figured Jason would really appreciate these as a nice Valentine's Day treat.

I followed the recipe with a few exceptions. I used 3 tablespoons of PB2 (mixed with water per package directions) and only 1 tablespoon of regular, crunchy peanut butter. Instead of the coconut, I used slivered almonds.

I managed to eke out 4 cups. With the modifications, each serving is only 113 calories and 3.4 grams of protein. Now that's a treat you don't have to feel terribly guilty about eating. And I am thinking that if you added in a little more water plus a protein powder of your choosing, you could really bump up the protein if you wanted.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Accidental 14 Mile Run

How does Monday roll around so quickly, but the weekend takes forever to show up? I know, rhetorical question of course.

This weekend we actually didn't have any plans. My only plan was to try to get in an 11-12 mile run on Saturday. We have a half marathon in two weeks, and I've not followed any sort of plan. I was just hoping I'd be able to feel up to doing the race period.

Thankfully, I've been feeling more human finally after this whole blood clot ordeal. I have ups and downs still, but definitely feeling better than I was a month ago. I haven't really talked much about it because still so much of a waiting game. Clot's still there, but at least I can get out and run, move, exercise, feel more normal.

Back to the long run...if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you already know that I definitely got in that long run, and then some.

Jason and I decided to wait until it warmed up a bit. Like 35 degrees. At least the sun was out, but so was the crazy wind. We were supposed to basically do an out and back. The goal was a very easy, much slower paced training run.

We headed down towards the river with the plan of following part of the river trail then turning around and heading back. We were keeping that slower pace that we both needed. So all was good. We took a brief break around mile 6-ish for GU and so I could potty (definitely not dehydrated). Then the plan for that easy run was tossed into the gusting winds.

What happened was that Jason decided he wanted to take a detour. I should have gone with my initial gut instinct of "no." But, I thought I'd just go with it. I knew it was uphill, but didn't really remember HOW uphill it was. It was over 250 feet of elevation gain.

And if that wasn't enough, they had apparently finished out paving some new trails/paths that Jason wanted to explore. He rides his bike up that horrid hill sometimes and the path always ended after 1.5 miles. Guess what, now it keeps on going. And it's uphill, of course. And we had no clue how far it went.

Now, granted, there were some awesome views of the city far below. Really and truly quite spectacular had I not been running uphill. The house seemed to be a million miles away. But after a certain point, you remember that you do have to still get back home, a million miles away. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my phone, so no pictures of the views or the random stacked rocks that someone created around the path.

Let's just say the return home was semi-surreal. I knew we had to get back somehow. We were both hurting from that upward climb, getting hungry, and tired. By the time we made it home, it was 14 miles later. So much for that easy 11-12 miler huh?
Permanent hat head & hat indention
After we both stretched a lot, we cleaned up and headed to a very late lunch/early dinner. We were hungry to say the very least. It was a sunny day, chilly, but sunny. We hit up Pizza Cafe, which does have a nicely heated patio, so we could enjoy the sunshine without the chill. Pizza + Beer = Perfect post-run re-fuel and relax time.

Do we  look exhausted?
Let's just say we slept very soundly Saturday night.

Sunday ended up being a much warmer day (hitting mid 60's by the afternoon). It was sunny and screaming for a run. Jason went down to a nearby park to fish while I headed out for a run. I ended up going 5 miles. Probably too far, but man it felt so good and was just simply a great run.

The rest of the day was spent doing lots of laundry, a few chores, and some yard work. It was hard to pass up being outside working in the yard on such a wonderfully gorgeous Sunday.

So, have you ever gotten off track and ended up running farther than intended? It might sound implausible, but accidental long runs can happen.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fun For Friday - Words for Me

I'm not sure if this really qualifies as "fun" for Fun For Friday. But I'm going with it anyway.

This week, at my office, a decorated Valentine's Bag was attached to everyone's doorway and we were all given slips of paper. Directions were given to write a single word for each co-worker on the slips of paper then place them in the bags on the doorways.

We were supposed to write something positive, sweet to describe each person. Basically, just saying something nice about everyone for Valentine's Day.


Words I received:

  • Driven 
  • Efficient
  • Attractive 
  • Reliable 
  • Inspirational 
  • Disciplined 
  • Sensitive 
  • Driven
  • Fearless 
  • Hale 
  • Sedulous
  • Meticulous 
  • Disciplined
I'm sensing a theme here. Part of me was pleased with the descriptors. I do feel like I'm reliable, disciplined and even driven. I'm definitely a very grounded, sensible person. I won't deny that. But then I realized something was missing...fun, carefree, upbeat. 

Would my friends use these same words to describe me? Or my family? 

While I like the fact that I am seen as someone who's very reliable, I also want to be someone who's fun to be around. Who people want to be around. I want to smile and laugh more freely. Not be so concerned that I'm going to embarrass myself. Not so...careful. And I think that's the key word. I'm very very careful. 

This year my word was change. How do I change being so careful? Or does that change the essence of "me?" Can I be slightly less careful, slightly less calculated? But still be reliable and dependable? <---rambling div="" now="" sorry.="">

How do you think others would describe you - in a single word? Would your co-workers say something different than your friends? Would your friends say something different than your family even?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love in Photos

In honor of Valentine's Day - Love in Photos

Husband



Family and Furbabies

Friends

Even if you're not a fan of Valentine's Day - I hope you have a wonderful day and remember the loves in your life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

HIIT Bike & Full Body Workout

HIIT IT
I found some kickbutt workouts from  the Blonde Ponytail's GNC Lean Legs: Workout 2 and Workout 3 . I knew right away I wanted to try out the workouts, especially a few of the exercises she used.

I will definitely do these workouts as prescribed, but on Friday, I ended up doing a little mix of a workouts to incorporate the bike trainer along with compound moves and some of her exercise for a full-body, cardio crazy circuit that took just under 35 minutes with the cool down.

While I used my bike trainer, you could definitely do this same workout using a spin bike at the gym, treadmill, or even an elliptical. It's probably not a true HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout, but it's pretty darn close.
  • There are 3 Rounds
  • Each round includes 2 minutes of full-speed cycling (with decent amount of tension) followed up by 2 different exercises to incorporate both upper and lower body (with the exception of the last round), followed up by a cardio move. 
  • Complete a round then repeat once (twice if you want a longer workout).
  • Rest 30 seconds then move on to the next round. 
Start with a 5-minute warm up on bike (or treadmill).


Video examples:
Pulse squat jumps
Surfer jumps
Split-jack lunges

Way to Go Wednesday 
Today is also time for Way to Go Wednesday shout outs. Please share yours too!
 
Heather at Running With Sass for an unexpected PR training run.

Laura at Mommy Run Fast for completing her Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Certification this weekend.

Kalli at Fit and Forty Something for knocking out another half marathon with an awesome time!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Love Running and Morning Sunrises

Angela at Happy Fit Mama had a great post this morning about the why she loves running. One of the reasons on her list was a morning sunrise. I always relish the sunrises when I go out for a morning run and am disappointed if it's overcast and I don't get to see one. There's just something so completely serene about the sun rising up in the east. It's like seeing a smile.


This morning, I woke up around 5:30 to get in a run. Part of me was wishing I hadn't made plans to run so early. It was dark and cold and I had been snoozing soundly when the alarm went off.

But I had made plans. Jason and I were going to start the run together, then I was meeting my friend somewhere around 2 miles into the run. No backing out. While the first mile was up hill and seemed to go on forever (the hill that is), once I got moving, I was glad to be out there.

I saw a bunny (Jess/Jo) and I knew it was going to be a good run. The sky began to get lighter, slowly but surely. My friend and I fell into a really nice pace. I realized it wasn't nearly as cold or as dark, it was refreshing, awakening.

Other than a run in with a honking, hissing goose that tried to chase us (Jason saved us by flapping his arms and chasing after it, what a sight I'm sure), it was simply perfect.

But back to Angela's post - here are my 10 reasons why I love running.

  1. Me time - when running solo. Time to reflect or simply be present in the moment with no other cares. Being present but also detached at the same time. 

  2. It makes me feel truly alive - the wind, sun, pavement beneath my feet, sound of my breath. The cold, the hot, the sweat, even the pain.

  3. Good conversation - when running with A or Jason, I can always count on good conversations even if sometimes totally random. Usually lots of laughing and antics when A and I run. 

  4. It clears my head. Plain and simple. 

  5. Sunrises - the peacefulness of the morning.

  6. Endorphines - of course.

  7. I feel accomplished - no matter how hard the run is, I did it. I accomplished something and didn't back down.

  8. Finding the rhythm of my own breath and footfalls - it can be quite relaxing.

  9. De-stressig - sometimes a good midday or afternoon run is all I need to let the stresses of the day fall behind me. 

  10. Because I can. 
If you run - what are your reasons? If you lift, bake, bike, walk...what are the reasons for doing what you love?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Impromptu Virtual Race - Kyle's Krusade 5k

Day at the Track
This weekend went by entirely too quickly, though, don't they all. Saturday I ended up waking up around 7 am. I was sitting on the computer watching the marathon training group run past my house (house is just about 9.5 miles into the race), even saw my running partner fly by. Of course this made me feel pretty lazy, so I geared up and headed out for a chilly, but great run.

My goal was to do an easy 4 miles. I kept either ended up running with parts of the training group or sometimes opposite directions from them. I got plenty of weird looks like "um, you're going the wrong way" or "where'd she come from."

I ended up meandering down towards the river, putting myself way over the intended miles, like double the miles. But I kept them much slower, which was really needed. So, 8 miles done.

After the run, I spent some time stretching before getting ready for the day. We headed to Hot Springs to go to the race track with my sister and friends. While it ended up being a super gray, dreary looking day out, we still had a great time inside the track - as always.
 
I'm not really into betting, it's mostly people watching and just having fun with friends.

Impromptu 5k
Sunday morning ended up stormy and rainy. I had thought about just hopping on the bike trainer. But then I found a post for Kyle's Krusade Virtual Race (5k, 10k, or half marathon) over at RunWiki's blog.

She's hosting this virtual race to raise money for Kyle and his family. Kyle is a 6-year old child battling cancer. The donation is a mere 10 bucks (more if you can or want of course). There's still time to participate - you have until the 16th. So think about signing up!


The rain was letting up a little and the lightening had moved on. So I donated/signed up for the 5k, got myself ready, and hit the pavement. It was about 60 degrees out, so I had on shorts, but I did wear a water-resistant jacket, mostly futile and too warm of course.

I had no pace in mind, no real goal other than doing the 5k for a great cause. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the thought of the reason I was running, but I settled into a really good pace and just went with it. It's not my fastest 5k time, but it sure felt pretty awesome.
Soaking wet & hat askew
After I got cleaned up, I spent a good portion of the day studying. Of course the rain cleared out and the sun came out, and it warmed up to a nice 70 degrees. But, you know what? I'm actually happy that I ran in the rain and didn't wait around for the sun. 

Running in the rain - yay or nay? 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fun Facts Friday - Things I Won't Forgo

I almost didn't post for Fun Facts Friday. I really couldn't think of anything random or fun for the day. That is, until I had a twitter convo with my friends Jess and Jo.

They're getting snowed in my Nemo and there was some mention of having plenty of wine on hand. And of course justification of drinking the wine while snowed in - all the way down to it having antioxidants and not wanting to get sick while snowed in.

That convo reminded me of a post. A while back, another blogger friend (Christine at Love Life Surf) had done a New Year's post about the things she wasn't changing for 2013.

So, put the two together and you have Fun Facts Friday - Things I Won't Forgo.

Wine - There was a time when I actually hated wine. Jason worked in a restaurant and we could go to big wine tastings and I snubbed my nose and stood at the champagne table. Man I missed out.

Pizza - Yes, I know it's a calorie, carb bomb. I do try to make it healthier by loading up on the veggies. At home I make my own wheat crust and we use Daiya. When we go out we do light on the cheese. That helps right?

Blue Moon - I don't drink a lot of beer now that I have wine in my life. But there is something so refreshing about a cold blue moon with orange wedge, especially after a long run.

Cheese Dip - Again, horrible for you. But I can't control myself. And I'm absolutely a-ok with a vegan version too. I have a few recipes that we've made many many times.

Peanut Butter - Thank goodness this one isn't just horrible for me. Of course, I might have a problem with portion control.

I can give up sodas (been easily a year or more since I've had one), don't care about cakes, ice cream doesn't live in the freezer, no bags of chocolate, even gave up my Cheetos years back. But the above items? My Achilles heel.

What are some things you won't forgo no matter how bad they might be for you?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thoughts & Things: Blood Thinners, Running, Bike Trainer

I've had some really random thoughts and ideas going on as well as things to share. So I thought this would be perfect for a Thursday Thoughts and Things post.
This is my "I'm thinking" look also showing how I look when I don't dress myself up & put on makeup.
 (and wow, am I really leaving that picture for all to see?)

Thin Blood/Oxygen Relationship? 
I've been running crazy fast times lately with my running partner. This hasn't been intentional by any means. I have honestly been trying to just get comfortable with running again and slowly trying to add distance in.

I've been learning about the training effect and how exercise can increase your capillaries as well as improve your overall cardio function. In other words, more oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to your hard-working muscles.

This got me to thinking, could the blood thinners, in other words, thinner blood mean even easier blood flow? Greater output of this oxygen-rich blood? Could that be part of what's helping me run so much faster suddenly as well as having great recovery after the run?

I might be tired as hell. Some days I can barely peel myself out of bed after 10 hours of sleep and walk around looking like I've been run over by a truck. But suddenly, cardio is clicking? Just random thoughts so any experts out there, please weigh in!

Why I Run - in someone else's words
If you run, don't run, love it, hate it, you should read this post "Why we love to run" from Dr. Nick's Running blog. Seriously the best explanation I've read about why runners run. I can't ever seem to put it into words; somehow, he does.

Bike Trainer
I always loved my spin classes but never wanted to actually own and ride a bike. I'm terrified of falling. But, in November, I finally got a bike. I was able to get in two rides before the blood clot issue. We ended up investing in a trainer and I promptly jumped back on the bike for cross-training workouts.

Clearly I've become a little obsessed with my spin workouts now - as you can tell from my posted workouts: Quad Killer, Chase & Race, and Holy Hills.

Even more, my running buddy has a bike and wants us to sign up for a bike race sometime in the nearer future. Eek!

What are some thoughts and/or things for you today?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Spin Workout and Way to Go Wednesday

Work it Out Wednesday
I hope you don't mind, I have yet another spin/bike trainer workout to share. Clearly I've been enjoying my bike trainer. Obviously this means I was missing my spin classes since my gym closed wayyyyy back in May.

I know that this technically doesn't count as a leg workout, but since I'm not supposed to be lifting heavy weights...ok, any weights...this is going to have to suffice for now. I did this workout on Monday and my legs were wobbly heading down the stairs.

This is definitely all about the hills. You want to keep tension higher, but still trying your best to maintain a fast turnover.

The first section is a rolling hill with very little back off. Each climb should begin at a higher tension than the previous one - in other words, you never go downhill until the end.

The second section is still about the hills with a faster, steeper climb, meaning increasing tension 2 and 3 times each minute, but you get a little reprieve with downhill sprints.


Be sure to slowly get off your bike and stretch out your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Also take time to stretch out your upper body as well.

Way to Go Wednesday
Now onto my favorite part of Wednesday, Way to Go Wednesday shout outs.

Angela at Happy Fit Mama for knocking out an awesome time on her first 10-mile race.

Jenn at Running with the Girls for also rocking the same 10-miler. 

Liana at Run To Munch for tackling a tough 25K trail run!

Kristina at Spabettie  and Sarena at the Non-Dairy Queen and Jess at EatDrinkBreatheSweat - not so much a way to go as a shout out that includes a big fat hug because they've had a tremendous amount to overcome recently.

Your turn, who do you want to give a shout out to this week?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Zucchini Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

Surprise surprise, I have another new recipe just in time for Tasty Tuesday. As I mentioned yesterday, I spent a good deal of time in the kitchen on Sunday prepping food for the week. I made spaghetti sauce and tofu ricotta specifically for this dish - as well as more ciabatta bread.

This dish is both vegan and gluten-free, but full of flavor and protein. In other words, it sounds light, but it's still hearty and filling. 

Zucchini Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta
Ingredients:
3-4 zucchini (depending on size) cut into thin lengthwise strips
1 recipe for tofu ricotta (see below)
1 jar spaghetti sauce of your choice (I used a homemade)
Baby spinach
Daiya Vegan Mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add a small amount of sauce to the bottom of a glass baking dish. Add in a layer of the zucchini. Top with spinach, then add a sprinkle of the tofu ricotta. Top with sauce. Repeat finishing with Daiya Mozzarella.

Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes then remove cover. Increase the temperature to 425 degrees and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes depending on the moisture level. (Cooking at the higher temperature, uncovered will help remove excess moisture and allow the dish to firm up better.)

Tofu Ricotta
Ingredients:
1 package extra firm tofu, patted dry
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or to taste)
To taste: salt, onion powder, parsley

Directions:
Crumble tofu into a bowl then add in the remaining ingredients and mix well.

The ingredients
First layer

Spinach and tofu ricotta

Sauce

Lots of tasty Daiya

Like I mentioned, this dish is heartier than it might sound. It's also easy to put together, even if you hadn't pre-prepped everything. Yes, it does take a while to actually bake, but that was perfect for me because I used that time to study. 

Not a bad Monday night meal if you ask me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

5 by the 5th February

5 by the 5th
If you recall, last month I did a post (Starting Over) mentioning the 5 by the 5th Virtual Run Series hosted by Laura at Mommy Run Fast. You can either do 5 miles or a 5K by the 5th of each month for 5 months.

I guess a month sometimes flies by, because it's already that time again to post my 5 by the 5th results for February.

Sunday morning Jason and I set out for a run. I had run my first double digit run since the blood clot on Saturday. Very very proud of that. It was definitely tough the last two miles, but I did it. Right now my muscle recovery is back on track after running.

However, my fatigue level is just off the charts. I could barely keep my eyes open after about 3pm.
Workouts just totally suck the energy from me. So while they're getting easier and recovery in terms of muscles is good, I can't seem to overcome the exhaustion or this freaking clavicle pain. Let's just say I slept very soundly.

 

So, back to Sunday. I really wasn't sure how many miles I was going to be able to do. I knew I wanted to at least do the 5K for the virtual race series. But I was feeling better than I expected and we got in 5 pretty speedy miles.

The weather was beautiful, mid 50's, sunny, although crazy windy from the northwest. It's wonderful wearing short sleeves in February I must say. I had on capris and was really warm. I should have known better of course.

Girl Time
After the run, I cleaned up and went shopping with my friend (and running partner). She wanted to find some new pants, and I never turn down a shopping opportunity. Plus, it was fun have some girl time together, not running for a change.

She was on the hunt for pants. She did find a really awesome pair, on clearance too, at White House Black Market. After that, pants were really funky - either horrid colors, crazy patterns or textures. I scored some sweet deals at DSW.
Jessica Simpson Booties for $35
These badboys for $50


We also decided to have lunch while we were out in that shopping complex. Shopping works up an appetite right? We chose a place called Big Orange. It's a burger joint, but they have amazing veggie burgers. It's usually crazy packed with waiting times, but maybe because of the Super Bowl and the fact that it was 2 pm, it was easy to get a table right away.

After all the fun, I did make myself be productive. I decided to do some food prep again. I made spaghetti sauce to use for spaghetti and "meatballs" as well as with a zucchini lasagna with a tofu ricotta (also prepped), pressed tofu, marinated half and baked the other for stir fry and a curried tofu and veggies, made rice for the stir fry and the curry, baked off spaghetti squash, and made homemade ciabatta again. Let's just say the house smelled really amazing.

So, a great Sunday all the way around. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fun Facts Friday - Sometimes

Wow, than you Friday for finally making an appearance. Show of hands if you thought it'd never show up too!

Rather than dwell on the crazy week that's now in the past, I thought I'd just jump right into Fun Facts Friday. Let's put the week behind us and have a little fun shall we?

I'm taking a cue from my friend Jessica. She did a post she called Sometimes (Revisited). Mine isn't exactly revisited, just a list of Sometimes.

Sometimes...

...these cuties really are as sweet as they appear here (the dogs not Jason).

...they can be rotten like coming into the kitchen to see Maddie polishing off a to-do style notepad with a magnetic strip on the back. Lip-smacking good apparently.

...they like to play the in-and-out game standing at the back door but going out only to randomly bark, repeat 5 times before they might actually potty.

...they love to get toilet paper or tissues and have both figured out how to push a basket under the coffee table back far enough to get into it to get to the box of tissues we have "hidden."

Sometimes...

...I really enjoy doing the cooking.
Tofu White Bean Steaks

...I enjoy it even more when Jason steps in so I can have time to study or *gasp* do nothing.
Jason's Pho
Sometimes...

...I think I have it all figured out.

...I realize I don't and nowhere close.

...I want to run and it turns out to be less than stellar.

...I don't really want to run and it's the best thing ever.

...I'm too lazy to play pool on the pool table in my own house. That can be a lot of effort you know.

Sometimes...

...I'm amazed still that I have run 4 half marathons. Especially considering I never thought I could run more than a mile period.

...It's not a matter of time, it's a matter of who you crossed the finish line with.
...I smile for no reason.


What are some of your "sometimes?"