Friday, March 30, 2012

Fitness Friday: Spatula Runners 10K

So like most things in life, I waited until the last minute to enter my time and photo into Ali's Spatula Runners 10k, and seeing as I am just getting over this cold, and it is blowing 18 mph w/ 38 degree weather, I opted for the treadmill.

Now I almost always am slower on the treadmill, but add on the fact that I haven't comfortably run faster than an 8:20 in the past month anyways, and you could imagine the pain, fatigue and accelerated heart rate I battled to get through this.

I could harp on the fact that I really didn't feel strong and that it was my all time slowest 10k race (whether or not it was in real life or online), but instead I am going to smile and perhaps do a spatula fist pump, just for getting through this.

I ran a 0.55 mile warm up in about 5 minutes, did a quick stretch (my right hip and knee have been sore as heck lately) and got right to it.  There was a yoga class at 6:30 that I wanted to make it to, and knew I had to be speedy to get it done in time.  I put the treadmill at a 0.7% incline (which equals a flat road) and pumped the speed to 7.4 (which is usually my recovery pace for intervals!) and settled in.  The plan was to raise that speed every half mile - mile, but it took the first mile to get comfortable enough to up it to 7.5.  I hung out at 7.5 for the next 2.2 miles, and knew I had three more miles to get through.  I was hurting and it was tough breathing.  I was dripping sweat and could feel myself over-heating, but I kept on going.

At about 4 miles, I seriously considered stopping at 5.65 miles and just tacking on my warm up time to make the 6.2 miles, but I knew that was cheating/easy way out - so I quickly squashed that thought.  I did, however, turn the speed down to 7.3 - and was still struggling.  I turned the machine up to 7.6 as I closed in on 5 miles and told myself I was going to really push myself to speed up and finish strong.

I upped it again to 7.8 at about the 5.5 mile mark, and was sure I would be able to make it all the way to 6.2, but my legs had other plans and I had to knock the speed back down to a 7.3 to finish up 6 miles, I pumped it back up to 7.8 and sprinted in (my sprint is usually a 9.5 on the tready!) the final 0.2. I finished up the 10K in a 50:45 and a smile for pushing through despite some set backs.

I walked the final .25 cool down, and finished the evening with a perfect 7 miles and still made it to the yoga class without being obnoxiously late, score! The whole time I was running and yoga-ing, I was thinking about this Cinnabon Cake I wanted to make for Tripp, since he is going to be coming home while I am flying out so I won't be able to see him for another week, and he finished his final day (of 12 weeks!) in Oregon today - so I wanted to leave him something special.

I also thought, what better way to get my photo in for Ali's Spatula Runners Photo contest!
I ran to the kitchen, grabbed the spatula and got to it - no time for showers!
There will be no write up on the final product, because needless to say - I screwed it up somehow! There were two and a half sticks of butter and 3 cups of sugar, so maybe it is better it came out crappy? I still tried to eat some of it that was dripping in the excess butter...it was seriously a pool of buttery oil on the top layer, nothing like the delicious looking pick on the site - wonder what went wrong?

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Did you take part in Ali's contest? It ends today, but she has some pretty great prizes up for grabs!!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Healthy Soups, Luna Fun, and Getting Back into Shape!

Ok, so the head/chest cold is subsiding (thanks to a Z*pack and some meds to help me sleep through the night without leaving both lungs on the floor) and I'm starting to get some more energy lasting throughout the day, and motivation to expend that energy in more active ways (lifting the remote and mug of tea is no longer on my sufficient exercise list).  I have been experimenting with some barre classes lately (which I don't think are exactly my thing, but they definitely get me doing more squats and core work), got in a semi-long run, and have been looking daily for new gym classes to explore.

I have also been trying to figure out ways to cook using only the items in my pantry (which are plentiful, believe me) and the produce I am getting in my Boston Organics box, especially since I will be leaving on a work/fun vacation this weekend (more on that below) and want to use as much of the goodies as possible - seriously hate wasting food!

Which brings me to my three things Thursday....

1. Healthy Soups: In an attempt to use the pile of organic yellow onions growing by the week, and my most recent delivery of organic sweet potatoes and apples, I decided to make myself some sweet potato/apple soup.  I looked at a few recipes online, but wasn't in the mood for a big elaborate recipe, so I just winged it!!


Curry Sweet Potato & Apple Soup (vegetarian, vegan)
Serves: 2 (dinner) 4 (starter or side)

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 small/medium yellow onion (sliced thinly)
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (plus dash to garnish)
  • 1 Large sweet potato
  • 1 medium/large apple (I used organic empire)
  • 1/2 15-oz. can chickpeas (rinsed)
  • 3/4 quart of veggies or chicken broth (I used organic chicken broth because that is what I had open)
  • optional: 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Begin by heating up the coconut oil in a medium sized pot.  Add onions and cook until tender, then mix in curry powder, salt and cinnamon.  While the onions are cooking, wash, peel, and dice your sweet potato and apple.  Once the onions and spices are combined, add in the sweet potatoes, apple, and chickpeas - pour the broth to just cover the veggies. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20-25 minutes (the potatoes and apples will become very soft).  Remove from heat and puree in a blender or food processor until fully combined and smooth.  If using, mix in nutritional yeast (to add a little thickness and cheesy hint to the soup).  Pour into bowls, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve immediately.

I topped mine with some organic pea shoots (also from my produce box) that I sauteed in garlic and olive oil for about 5 - 8 minutes.

2. Luna fun: Tomorrow morning I will be flying out to California for the annual Luna Chix Summit, our in Berkeley, CA (closer to Clifbar headquarters than San Francisco).  Last year was my first experience with this event (and with the team!), and I couldn't believe how much fun this was, how well run it was, and how much Clifbar & Co. care about their employees, athletes, and consumers!

Summit is made up of two and half days of fun, activities, clinics, good food, and lots of Luna products :)  It is a time when we get to meet the other Luna Chix teams from across the country and sports (Luna supports not only Run teams, but also Mountain Bike and Tri teams).  As a member of a Run Team, I will be getting in a lot of info on run form, running nutrition, as well as some speed workouts on the track and longer run through Berkeley on Sunday before summit ends.
Jessie, Emma and I hanging out with two new friends we met at summit last year
Last year I was able to meet so many incredible women, including the Luna Chix Pro-athletes, pick up some valuable nutrition information to keep my energy stable and efficient, and hear the stories about how the The Breast Cancer Fund is impacting lives and cancer prevention research.
I will miss Emma this summit, but I have a whole season to make up for it with her :)
I cannot wait for tomorrow morning to get here - as this year I won't only be enjoying all of the above, but I will also be picking up a special session that has to pertain with my role on the Boston Luna Chix Run team this season (I will explain next week, but I am very excited about this opportunity and it is right up my ally in terms of passion and interest - it also might be helpful for some of you guys too!).

On Sunday, Jessie, Ashley, Julia and I will head to Sonoma for a phenomenal wine tasting experience, then head back to San Fran for some sight seeing before catching a red-eye home Tuesday night - so incredibly excited!! Work Hard, Play Hard - am I right?!

3. Getting Back into Shape:  Something I didn't think I would have to say I was doing after my last knee injury this past fall/winter, but I have taken a big endurance/energy hit with my wrist injury (no upper body work for a month), layoff fogginess, that then was replaced by a head/chest cold.  My typical paces have been a struggle to maintain, and my perception of distance while running has greatly altered (5 miles feels like a mini-marathon).  I have to take more breathers and stretch breaks while running shorter distances, which can really deflate your running mojo.

This week I did a lot of reflection on this, and realize that two weeks of sniffling and coughing can really do a number on your breathing and ability to stabilize heart-rate during workouts - I know this is not my fault, and it is not permanent.  I will get back into shape, it just might be a little slower than intended.  My hip has been giving me some pain, but I know it is because I am trying to interlace increased strength training with increased running too quickly after a period of less activity, so I am resting and taking care of it - stopping when I need to.  I am becoming a smarter athlete, which I intend to use to my advantage while getting my mileage back up, my paces back up, and my mental well-being back up.

I have nothing that I am actively training for, so I need to let go of my competitive mentality just a little for right now, and accept where I am at, and reach for where I want to be. I will enjoy my running for fun with friends or on my own, I will push it where I know I can push it (and where it doesn't hurt my legs or breathing) and my fitness will return, as long as I continue to have faith in that.

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What's your favorite soup combo?

I have enjoyed most soup combos I have come across to be honest - I really love a flavorful lentil or butternut squash though :)

Any idea what I will be learning at summit that has me so excited?!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Motivations - Smile....


I have been dealing with a lot lately - a layoff, the subsequent job search, some personal things and this ever-lasting head/chest cold...so the reminder to smile today is beyond welcomed and I am going to think of all the things that make me smile daily, and have made me smile bigger than words in the past.

Things like finishing my first marathon (and hoping not last), which Julia reminded me of this morning...
In the spirit of smiling and having fun...I have also signed up for Amanda's new 30-day challenge, to have FUN


So I am going to remember to smile, laugh and just have fun - because there will always be challenges and negativity, but the strong persevere and overcome to find the light.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Couldn't have done it better if we had planned this out....
Completely unintentional twinsies for our weekly Tuesday night run/dinner date - gotta love these summer temps, bringing out the neon in us all!
Love, Love, Love

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Patrick's Day 5k Recap

Where do I start?! This weekend was one I had been looking forward to for a couple of months now, ever since I signed up for the 5k in South Boston back in December (ok, who am I kidding, ever since I recovered from last year's debacle!).

If you have heard much about St. Patty's Day celebrations and Boston, you might have heard about or known about what goes down in South Boston (my "hood") on the weekend of green beer, funny hats, parades and more.  South Boston has a very rich Irish background, and to this day a very Irish heavy population (most of the bars are Irish bars, with an Irish accented tend or two), so it comes as no big surprise that the parade day (not always March 17th) is one of the most anticipated holidays in the city.

Last year's get up!
This year marked my fourth experience with parade day, and third living in Southie, and this year did not disappoint.  Despite having a fantastic "here comes spring head-cold" (which I am still trying to get through), Tripp and I were all ready to get a little 5k race on and then our party on!  The South Boston St. Patty's Day 5k runs at 11 AM, the morning of the parade, along a portion of the parade route.  It is a HILLY out and back from the South Boston Boys and Girls Club to the water and back.

Going into this race, I was feeling really drained, as I hadn't slept much the previous nights due to coughing fits and stuffed up head/nose, and I was still so stuffed up, I was forced to only breath through my mouth.  I was not too excited for the hills that awaited me, all five of them (which is a lot, for a 3.1 mile race).  Tripp and I dressed in a bit of green, pinned on our numbers and met up with our friends Tori and Paly, who were awesome enough to sign up and run with us!! Seeing as the parade started less than a quarter mile away, we waited until 10:50 and jogged over to meet the massive crowd of runners with 5 minutes to spare before guntime (1724 runners finished the race - and the race was sold out at 1750).  We pushed our way to a mid-point in the crowd and waited for the herding to begin.  The time spent dodging and weaving to get a small bit of personal space was an additional nice warm up, as it was up the first hill, and was tough to get into a groove on anyways.  The four of us stayed together until the crowd started to break up and Tori and I were separated from the guys a little.  On the first downhill was when I realized I was the one who pulled away from the group (#fail).

Paly (Jon), Tori, Tripp, and I post-race, pre-beers (well except Tripp :) )

Once I realized I was going to be running the majority of this solo, I kicked into a comfortable race gear (not slow, but not pushing it) and gauged my breathing and energy levels.  I felt good so I kept the cruising pace on  and formed my one goal for the race, besides have fun and notice the crowds this year - beat Tripp :) I know this sounds selfish and foolish, but in last year's race, I was in front of Tripp until just past the turn around point and when I saw him I double backed to run with him for a little bit, we stuck together for most of the second half of the course, before he kicked it in three blocks from the finish and schooled me!! I was a little perturbed with last year's ending, so I wanted to see if I could beat him on my own, hey I am competitive.

I hit a slight wall on hill 4, about 2.5 miles into the race and contemplated walking up the rest of it, but instead I powered through it best I could and held down the vomit I could feel creeping up my sandpaper throat (thank you head-cold).  I saw a neighbor on a portion of the homestretch, slapped him high five and checked the garmin - I had a chance to finish under 23 and I was going to jump on it!! I turned on the gas (whatever was left at least) and strided the next few blocks and up the final hill to the finish arch up ahead.  I crossed the line in 22:59 (I can't make this up) and realized I was the first of the group to cross, which means I beat Tripp :)  I held down another little heave and chugged a water (it was already in the high 60s and sunny - felt like 75) and waited until I saw the neon green of Tripp's shirt and the face of Tori and Paly.

A little blurry, but happy with the race :) Yes, we were those over-achievers who signed up on the first day of registration (50/1750 bibs) )
There were some ice cream shake samples, powerade zero, pop chips and KIND bars at the finish (I raided the KIND bars table!), but we had our eyes on the prize back at the house - a keggarator (courtesy of our good friend Jeff) roaring to go with a keg of ice cold Bud Light (not my fave, but goes down like water on a hot day) and some great snacks to dig into.
The highlight of the party, the keggarator.  There were some carbombs consumed as well, but with Jameson, not the Jim and w/ Guinness, not the  keg
My roommate and I threw a rager of a Parade party, and only a handful actually made it up to the main road to watch the parade, but it was definitely a success, no leftover beer, no leftover food - just some great friends, great times, and a fantastic St. Patty's Day celebration!

I found out yesterday that I ended up coming in 36/595 in my age group and 179/1724 total finishes, and beat last year's time (23:23) - not bad for some unseasonably warm weather, a horrid head-cold and some killer hills! Best was, I felt good enough after finishing to keep up with the party all day/evening long (didn't drink too much, but that only meant Monday morning was less painful).

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How did you celebrate St. Patty's Day weekend?

I laid low on the couch all day during St. Patty's, so I was ready for the extravagance that was Sunday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Boston Organics, Days at Home, and No Meat?

Happy Thursday everyone! Almost to the end of the week...almost! I am pretty excited for this weekend, as it is St. Patrick's Day weekend, which means lots of friends, good food/drinks/fun and even a race! I will be running the South Boston St. Patrick's Day 5k on Sunday morning with Tripp and our friends Jon and Tori - post race we will be getting our part on back at my place and catching the tail end of the infamous South Boston Paddy's Day Parade!

I will let you all know how that goes, but for now, a little bit of what has been going on this week!

1. Boston Organics: If you have heard of CSAs or crop sharing programs, this is not exactly one of those, but rather a delivery organic produce service.  I can choose to receive a box of either global or locally sourced produce in the form of all veggies, all fruits, 50/50 freggies, 40/60 freggies - all organic.
my 50/50 organic freggies box
I spend upwards of $30 a week on freggies, and almost always choose them based on what is on sale.  This price does not include organic produce, it is mainly your run of the mill grocery store stalk.  When I saw a freggies box for $29/wk or $29 every other week for ALL organic, and I wouldn't have to stress about choosing what I wanted that week - my ears perked right up!  I chose the $29 50/50 box, every other week (although after the first delivery, I might have to change that to weekly), sourced from where ever they were bringing it in from (as locally sourced right now would leave me with mostly just root veggies - not that I don't love those, but I wanted some variety) and for my first delivery...variety I got!
 I received broccoli, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, beets!, two types of oranges, apples, pears, kiwis, bananas, and romaine lettuce
I haven't cooked with beets in a little while, so I am excited to try one of the recipes they included with my box for beet and quinoa salad!!

2. Days at Home...are pretty boring to be honest.  I know I have mentioned how in a funk I have been and feeling depressed.  I am a very extroverted person, so to sit at home solo without much human interaction, first sends me anxious and then into a quiet depressive mood.  I get to be always tired, sluggish and unmotivated.  But this week I have vowed to turn that around, and I have been making  a lot progress! To take advantage of the nicer weather (70s two days in a row!) this week, I decided to take my inbox and lunch outside on Tuesday.
Loving the natural lighting!!
I have found it is really nice to just breath fresh air, have some wind hit your face, and squint to see your computer screen in the sun...oh, just me on that third one?
red curry lentils and quinoa w/ some bubbly water and lettuce cups on the side! Yum!
I experimented with a curry recipe on Monday night, when I had time to myself all the way until 9 PM!! I had a bit of cabin fever and wanted something warm and spicy to match my mood....it also made spectacular leftovers (that I finally finished today at lunch!) - Red Curry Veggies w/ lentils and quinoa - delish! I have been serving the leftovers with some of that organic romaine I received from the Boston Organics box!
3. No Meat? Oh yeah...I was supposed to be doing a No Meat March, huh?  Well I am happy to say that I stopped cheating on Monday, and I have been No Meat since...I attended a fundraiser and food show this weekend, both were full of delicious foods and several meat options.  The meat options were so appetizing and the events were once in a lifetime (or in a long while) so I made the conscious decision to cheat on my No Meat March - then I was feeling horrible Sunday and Tripp got sesame chicken take out, and I cheated again...fully aware I was cheating.

I honestly felt horrible on Monday - too much alcohol, too much food, too little sleep, and a heavy heart that I couldn't stay dedicated to my current meatless challenge.  I decided on Monday to work on cleaning my diet back up (and with the exception of some irish drinking indulgences on Sunday), including alcohol, meat intake, the works...

It has been noted on here, so I have to do it...right? :) If not, I will undoubtedly feel horrible again, because I am not letting myself down, but I am being untruthful to you guys if I keep cheating.

I am off to shower and get dressed for a fun (thoughtful) night out with some great girls, before the sears guys come to change out our washer and dryer in a little bit!

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Are you (or have you already) running a St. Patty's Day race? How long? Are you dressing up?


Do you eat lunch outside when the weather is nice?

It is such a great dose of Vitamin D and I need to remember to do it more!

Do you get a CSA or produce delivery service?  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Day is it?

I am re-dedicating myself to this blog, if it is the last thing I do (well it won't be the last thing I do, but you know what I mean).  The only problem I have is, I couldn't figure out what day it was! I started writing a What I Love Wednesday post, until I realized, it is still Tuesday! I have had an eventful morning with a great interview and getting some online errands done this afternoon, so the day seriously flew by!

Things are starting to look up, and I am starting to come out of my cloudy haze of non-productiveness and lethargy.  It could be due to the fact that I am finally seeing the sun and some warm temps here in Boston, or that I am getting some great interviews in on the job front, but I am seriously happy today.  

I got some great miles in last night - I know I had planned on just running to the gym and hitting up an abs and spin class, but as soon as I stepped outside, I knew I had to just keep running.  It wasn't a pleasant run at all physically, but mentally it was fantastic!! The weather was 70 degrees F, so I ran an honorary 7 miles, in just under an hour.  There were quite a few stops to just breath and stretch and to take in the crowds of people that had flocked to the water on the first 100% gorgeous day of the spring.  I kept thinking to myself, how lucky I am to have such a pretty running route along the Harborwalk, and so many more options around the city to explore.
Aerial view of Pleasure Bay (Source
 
Physically the run was tough due to what I would attribute to poor nutrition throughout the weekend and day, poor hydration and shock of a warm weather run after so many runs in the lower temps.  I felt so, so good when I got back to my apartment though, like I had finally accomplished something with my day!  I have been making healthier eating choices and stopped cheating on my No Meat March challenge.

Another positive thing to add to workout mix is that I have a fun run to look forward to this evening with Jessie, breakfast for dinner, and the Switched at Birth finale - plus, I have started running with Back on My Feet, here in Boston on Wednesday & Friday mornings at 5:45 AM (I would like to get into Monday mornings, but I am working myself into those).  I just started last Wednesday, so my third run will be tomorrow morning, but I am already loving the feeling of not only supporting those less fortunate than myself with companionship and healthy habits, but I am also getting myself up and active before most of the city, which is an unbeatable high.

Off to meet Jessie for some Esplanade running and yummy eats!! Happy Tuesday everyone!

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Do you ever completely forget what day it is?

Since I have been out of work, I never know which day it is, it seriously messes with my head!!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Motivations - Where have you been?!

Where has motivation been hiding for the past couple weeks? It seems that as soon as I finished the Hyannis Half Marathon, I completely lost motivation to run, go to the gym, blog, cook, do much of anything productive.

I would say this is also due to a bit of depression on my part, with the lay off and the job search, I am sitting home most of the day, not wanting to go out much, so as to not spend as much money as normal.  As I sit around I have the whole day open for the workout: hitting up the gym - going for a run - taking a walk, but I rarely end up doing any of that.  I am no longer training for any races - although I do have a 5k this Sunday that I am running with Tripp and some other friends, I spend most days alone, I am slowly becoming more of a couch potato, less of me.

The less I workout, the more unhappy and unhealthy I feel, the more unhappy and unhealthy I feel, the more lethargic I become.  It is horrible cycle and painful truth to accept.

Not all has been so negative nancy though - I have had a few interviews, an offer, and a few more interview lined up.  I have made many connections with past coworkers, friends and family members, but I still cannot get my booty off the couch.  This week, this all changes.  I am going to make moves this week to get back on track.
(Source)

I will make a training schedule, I will get back to healthy, normal eating, I will stop cheating on my No Meat March (more on that in another post).  I need to get back to not only be motivated, but back to respecting myself, my abilities, my needs.

Monday: Run to gym, core class (30 min.), spin class (60 min), run home - 2.2 miles total
Tuesday: Run with J. - 5 miles
Wednesday: Back on My Feet Run Group
Thursday: Spin Class & Yoga
Friday: Back on My Feet Run Group
Saturday: Rest/Yoga
Sunday: St. Patty's Day 5k - South Boston

This is just a starting block, but I need to get back on the healthy train - and hopefully by sharing this with all of you, I will be held a bit more accountable - I am actually off to get ready for my run to the gym as soon as I hit publish!

I can't be depressed because of the events of the past month, because in all honesty, it was an opportunity to start over, to rediscover my passions and motivations - and I am going to start to embrace that starting today, because everything happens for a reason...


What is great motivation to get you back on track?

Monday, March 5, 2012

No Meat March

I really wanted to join Amanda and the Vegan Challenge for March, but I just don't know if I am ready for that step just yet.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to try a vegan diet, and a month is great timeline - enough time to adjust to the way of eating and see some results (or changes in behaviors, mental and physical feelings, energy levels, etc...) - but I just didn't prepare like I needed to.  I still had yogurts and cheeses I wanted to eat, I wasn't 100% ready to give up eggs and fish.  So I am going to focus on just the meat thing this month - chicken, turkey, red meat, bacon, etc...
Would you be able to let these go bad in the fridge? I know I can't!!
For the past 5 days I have maintained a pescatarian diet, and if you have been following me for a little while, you might remember me trying out this way of eating last summer - yeah, it didn't even last a week...and if I have to be honest, I tried a chicken sausage sample at Costco on Sunday....see meat is the hardest thing for me to give up.  Meat has always been a part of my diet, yes I have (and still do for the most part) given up red meat completely, but chicken and turkey have been staples since before I can remember.

Why now you might ask? Is it because of Lent? Am I just trying to play along? 

Well, I it is sort of in alignment with Amanda's vegan challenge, and although I am catholic, it is not something I am giving up for Lent - it is actually the beginning of a few allergy challenges I would really like to undergo (meat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free).  I figure this will be the easier of the challenges I would like to undergo, and therefore a good building block for some diet control.  Ever since I have gotten to a happier place with my eating, I have lost a lot of the regimented control I put on food.  I still have fear foods, but I don't necessarily ban them - I eat them when they are in front of me, and then I feel bad afterwards.  The thing is, I don't ever want to be back in that neurotic mindset, but I need to rediscover intuitive and thoughtful food habits.  

I keep putting intuitive/thoughtful eating on my monthly goals (which I seem to have slacked on writing out), because it is still an area I need to work on.  I think this "No Meat March" will be a great start to watching what I am about to grab on my plate and put in my body.  I have always had some issues that I believe will be best dealt with on a gluten-free diet, and that I control by eating very little dairy (I almost always drink almond milk, but I enjoy some good cheese, skim milk in my coffee, and yogurts, which are not too bad on the stomach), so I am really excited to get into those challenges - but for right now, the no-meat is kind of like "base building" in marathon training - you need to train your mind and body to take the change before you can jump into more difficult workouts/changes.

So what do I hope to gain from all of this, besides a clearer mindset on food choices? Well I want to be putting things into my body, that will react well with my body, and there are a lot of studies out there toting the benefits of a no-meat diet protecting against diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and that a vegetarian type diet can lead to lower cholesterol and weight (quick read HERE).  

All-in-all, I am curious to see if I notice any changes in my daily energy, physical feelings, mental feelings - will I feel more refreshed? 

What have I been eating lately? I have been having tofu, tempeh, beans, yogurt, eggs, fish (salmon, swordfish, tuna).  I am not noticing any real changes thus far, but I also didn't start until last Wednesday evening.  If I concoct a recipe worth publishing, I will most definitely fill you all in.

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Have you tried any 30-day challenges focused around food choices?


Are you vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian? What if your favorite dinner idea/protein source?


Friday, March 2, 2012

Fitness Friday: Hyannis Half Marathon Recap

Oh yeah...I ran a half marathon on Sunday...might have forgotten to mention that too much in the past couple of weeks.  It is nothing personal, I just have had my head in the clouds a little bit lately, and I never wrote down my goals (I said them in my head, does that count?), I never mentioned that Luna Chix would be there to help with registration, I never mentioned that I was running with some awesome friends....so I guess now I should recap it a little, if not for you guys, for my future reference...because I will be signing up for this next year :)

The race weekend started off in a bit of an unconventional way....there was booze, cheese, cake, seafood...all the proper nutrition for a 13.1 mile race, right? Well, maybe not for a race, but to welcome in the 25th year of my life it sure was!
Huge birthday present! I got to see my long-lost bestie Ramah, her and her new boyfriend came to hang out for a while and drink some good wine! xoxo
 I turned the big 2-5 on Friday, I am now a quarter century old, but that is for another post :)  I hosted an intimate, tapas style party with some of my closest friends from the area Friday night...there was sangria, Spanish wine, tortilla espanola, garlicky shrimp, paella, mushroom risotto, spanish cheeses, steak tapas served two ways (crostini w/ goat cheese, roasted red peppers and peppered grilled steak, and port wine marinated grilled steak with a parsley dipping sauce...and cake :))
Look at that spread - and that was after some food was gone, you can see the race course cake a little clearer in this pic (bottom left)

I wish I had a better pic of the cake, but seriously, this was the best design ever! Our friend Christine is the cake queen, and she designed this to be a race course, with me on that purple podium (she had printed out a pic of me running and put a medal around the neck!).  There was a start and finish line, a course drawn out and the banner said "Happy Birthday"
After a very low activity (read: hungover/lazy/couch potato) Saturday, full of hydrating with proper liquids (read: water), I had a very sketchy pre-race meal of lobster, mussels, leftover mac n cheese and broccoli, washed down with a big slice of chocolate/fun fetti cake - although I felt ok throughout the evening and even when I woke up, I was so nervous this would backfire on me around mile 5.  My normal pre-race dinner is a simple pasta with chicken or shrimp and a light white wine sauce (no cream/cheese/butter overload). 

I packed up my race outfit and supplies bag and hit the hay early, which for me is 10 PM...oops...and was up and at em with my 5:30 AM wake up.  Our ride (my awesome friends Emma and Sam) picked us up at 6:15 sharp and we were off to Hyannis (on Cape Cod shores in Mass).  The wind advisory had been set the day before, to wind gusts up to 60 mph...seriously?! The weather was also supposed to be sunny and in the 40's though, so it was tough to dress for.  Lucky me, I had a good 2 1/2 hours to think about that while the Luna Chix helped work registration.  It was cool to get to be a part of the pre-race action and see so many nervous, excited, tired, wired faces coming through the doors!

At about 9:45 we headed into the cold - my legs felt good, my stomach felt good (surprisingly), and my race plan was to run with my buddy Chris for as long as both of us could stick with each other, starting out with an 8:00 min/mi pace and adjusting every couple of miles to see how we felt and how much we could push it.  I didn't really have an end-goal time, except to finish under 2 hours, and Chris admitted to me about 4 miles in, he was hoping for a sub-1:50 - perfect!
bad pic, but there were few to choose from...I took off the sweats and had full leggings underneath, but I was sweating by mile 4 with all of this on, a bit overdressed!
What wasn't perfect was the mess we made of the first couple of miles, which in our defense felt pretty easy.  There was an intense crowd at the starting line and Chris and I lined up BEHIND a barrier, so we were jammed into the pack as soon as we figured out how to get back on the right side of the wall, and were weaving pretty intensely for the first mile and a half.  We were also crushing the miles as we went...mile 1: 7:46, mile 2: 7:39.  We were  a bit faster than our plan of 8's, but we were cruising, so we didn't back off too much...

That was until we hit the first of the wind (which honestly wasn't as bad as we had expected it to be, but was not nice either). We kept it under 8's until mile 8, but then there was wind and hills...oh, the hills! The beginning of the race is pretty flat, almost downhillish, but then it starts a gradual uphill with only a few flatter breaks from miles 5 - 10. 

I lost Chris at a water stop around mile 9, on a hill.  I was having trouble with the first couple of hills, so I had made it my personal challenge to crush the next couple hills I encountered.  I turned on my ipod at this point and just pounded pavement, not worrying about the people next to me, or the hip pain that was starting to bud (but thankfully never fully flared).  I brought my pace down by 30 seconds and just powered through.  When I hit the final 5k point, I knew I was definitely under 1:50, and started calculating how long I could hold on to get around 1:40. 

When the road turned into more of a highway and we had to run on the side of it, blocked from traffic only by a string of cones and a few volunteers cheering us on and keeping us within the "barrier" I faltered a little bit - I would get up to a couple of runners and have to figure out how to get around them, then pick it back up again.  That speed/slow pattern can really mess with you, so I was trying to stay as focused as I could - this was by far the only bad part of the course, and the rest was pretty nice, so I will let it slide.
sprinting into the finish, I am the one in the pink shoes and no hat in back - I ripped my hat off at mile 10 and carried it in my hands the final 3.1 - didn't want to lose my Luna winter hat!!
My watch was a little bit ahead due to the weaving in the first two miles, so I was a little late for my final push - but I definitely left it all out on that race course, as I sprinted through the finish at 1:43:12.  I quickly grabbed some water and jogged back to the finish line area to catch Chris' sub-1:50 finish.  I know we were about 2:30 minutes off the start clock due to our less than ideal start, so I was beyond excited when I saw him rounding the final turn to the finish and crossing the tape at a 1:48:02 (the clock read 1:50, so I knew he had made it!)
Kinda of a positive split, into a negative split, into a positive? I am pretty much an expert at pacing and this should be used in all training plans...j/k!
I found Tripp, Sam, and Katie (Chris' wife) and we all went over to cheer in Emma, who finished under 2 hours as well! Overall, it was a successful and fun race, with some of my best running buddies! Also running the race was my friend Jessie (her first half since knee surgery in September!!), Julia, and Dutch.  This race gave me some confidence boosting I need going into the upcoming 2012 race season, as I was slow moving and healing post-marathon back in October!

I would recommend this race, as it was well run, the post-race amenities were great (massage booth, dunkin donuts booth, lots of food/snacks/re-hydration, vendors, live music), and you can't beat the Cape!
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