Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIAW - Jambalaya

 Happy Wednesday and Happy Leap Day! I really enjoy this extra day in February because it is an extra day to run.  It is another week and another round of What I ate Wednesday hosted by Peas and Crayons.

I have been slacking on taking pictures of my food and I have been not eating as many veggies as I should.  I mostly enjoy sharing my "What I are for Dinner" eats because most of the time I am trying out new recipes!  This past Sunday was no exception.

Breakfast: Chocolate Chip pancakes and three glasses of coffee
Lunch: Leftover Stuffed shells with Italian bread
Snack: Peanut Butter cookie dough and peach rings
Dinner: Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya - My Brother in law made this recipe over Christmas and gave us some and it was delicious!  This recipe makes a lot of Jambalaya and it does take a while (~1.5 hours) to make.  But once you are done it is so worth it.

Lately I have been feeling really bad about my consumption of cookies.  I just have been lacking serious self control when it comes to eating cookies.  It didn't help that my co-worker brought in butterscotch chip cookies on Monday too.  Must. Stop. Eating. Cookies!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adding up the days

I am currently 13 weeks away from the marathon (May 27th) and 9 weeks from the half marathon (April 29th) and the mileage increases have only just begun.
Crossing off the days of the training plan
Entering this training schedule, I was running 5 days a week which I had been doing for quite some time.  I was comfortable with 5 days a week and it allowed for a lot of flexibility in where I placed my rest day where I actually did not exercise at all.  During that time, my weekly mileage was around the high 20s/low 30s.

As I started gearing up for the marathon, I began to increase my mileage so that I would start my training with a base of 40 miles/week. It soon became very difficult to fit 40+ miles into 5 days of running. 

If you do the math
(40 miles/week) / (5 days) = 8 miles/day
where if you were to do the same mileage over 6 days
(40 miles/week) / (6 days) = 6.66 miles/day

So I have started running six days a week instead of five and I am currently on my second week of doing this.  I think the only way I am able to hold it all together and complete the workouts is because I keep my three easy runs VERY easy and continue to go to my weekly pilates and yoga classes.

It's not easy running almost every day of the week and of course there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Keep up momentum gained by running continuous days
Three days hard, three days easy
Less miles per day

One non-running day
Less time for recovery between runs
Too many consecutive days of running

When I get the chance in the coming weeks, especially in my cutback weeks, I think I will try to scale back to 5 days to give my legs the extra rest.  Otherwise, so far I have been feeling good. The extra day has made scheduling runs easier and I don't feel like every run (except my long run) has to be at least 5+ miles.

And the extra day of running makes me feel like I can eat a few extra cupcakes (or cookies!)
Cupcakes from the wedding we attended over the weekend
How many days a week do you run?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. I think I have found the solution to the equation of increasing mileage = complete exhaustion. Going to bed early!  Now I have always been a 10pm bedtime person, but lately with the increase in mileage I have been getting to bed between 9-9:30pm and it really has been helping me to feel pretty rested.  Plus I think my co-workers appreciate it because I have been less grumpy.  Although the earlier bedtime is tough, it really makes me use my time wisely in the evenings. 

2. I am trying a new way of hydrating today.  My running buddy gave me some her Nuun stash and so I put it in my water today after my workout.  I have been noticing lately that although I am drinking water, I don't know if my body is actually absorbing as much as it could.  So I am going to try this and see how it works!  Today I am trying the lemon lime flavor and it is really good!

3. I finally gave in and started a Facebook page for Morning Runner!  This is all still so new to me so any suggestions or advice would be appreciated!

Happy (almost) Friday!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Happy Wednesday! Here's another round of What I ate Wednesday with my eats from Monday with lots of veggies (and fruits)!

Breakfast: Raisin oatmeal with Coffee
Morning Snack: Pretzel goldfish
Lunch: Leftover Minestrone soup - This recipe is so easy and delicious! One leftover Pillsbury crescent, pistachios, and 2 gingerbread cookies/1 peanut butter cookie
Afternoon Snack: Orange and Banana
Dinner: Cilantro Lime Tilapia Tacos - This recipe was also amazing and I can't wait to make these again.  Broccoli and leftover Cake mix vanilla cake with chocolate frosting.
Evening Snack: More cookies.

Overall this was a good day but I once again over did it on the cookies after dinner.  But these two new recipes that I tried this week were a great hit and I definitely will be making them again!

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Top Secret Revealed

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I am training for a half marathon on April 29th which is true but I left out one little detail.

Four weeks after that half marathon race, 
I will be running in my first marathon.

A few of you have asked if I am training for one and I just could not keep it a secret any longer.  At first I wasn't even sure if I was actually going to go through with it because of my knee pain.  But then as I started to make my comeback and my knee pain subsided I thought that maybe I could actually run the marathon.

See here is what happened - my best friend and also my running buddy has wanted to run a marathon for over a year now but I really have not had the desire.  We kept putting it off until last November when she got engaged!  Plans were quickly formed for her wedding in October 2012 which kind of put a fall marathon out of the question. She mentioned that she really wanted to run a spring marathon and although I was apprehensive, I decided to sign up with her. 

It is still a long way off (14 weeks) and I am still incredibly nervous about my ever increasing weekly mileage but having a great buddy to do all the long runs with has definitely helped.  I honestly don't think I would have signed up for this if I had to train and race mostly alone.

I am not sure I will like the marathon distance, but I am going to try it at least once to say I have done it. We will see what happens after that.  All the training/running has already proved to be a big time commitment and I still have a long way to go.

97 days and counting....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snow Battles

We have been pretty lucky this winter - usually by this time of year we have seen about 71 inches of snow fall but this year we have barely reaches 44 inches.  I am really enjoying the milder temperatures and less snow which has made training much easier than previous years! 

Saturday, I had a long run planned and was going to go 16 miles.  The weather forecast looked pretty decent with some snow starting around 9am.  I knew I would be done with my run around then so I wasn't worried.

I met up with my running buddy and our normal Saturday morning running group for the long run.  We started out the run with some pretty big hills but the sun was slowly making an appearance so we just kept pushing along.  Around mile 4, the snow started to fall which was about 2 hours early!  I didn't think too much of it until we got to mile 6 and the roads were covered with snow and the snow was pounding down on us and flying into our eyes.

The snow covered path
There were times I really wanted to quit because the snow was flying fierce into my eyes and my face was freezing.  Having a running buddy right next to me kept me going until mile 12 where I dropped my water bottle.

Once we reached mile 12, we stopped and tried some new fuel - I was going to give GU another chance.  We kept the break pretty short since it was freezing out and continued on.  The snow suddenly stopped as we continued on and it was actually pleasant for the final 4 miles. The GU and water actually worked quite well and I didn't have any GI issues which I have previous dealt with while using GU.

Empty GU packet and directions for the run
 When we finally finished the run, I placed my water bottle on top of my car and then promptly forgot about it.  I was in such a hurry to get home and ice bath my legs that I forgot to take my water bottle off the rough of my car.  Surprisingly thanks to all the snow on top of my car, the bottle managed to stay on top of my car the whole ride home.

Once home, it was time to take an ice bath.  I don't really use ice - I just put super cold water into the tub.  I haven't done an ice bath since last winter when I was training for the half and it was no less painful than I remember.  The cold water was shocking as I got into the tub and the only thing that worked to barely distract me was my book.  15 minutes later, I finally got to shower!

Ice bath with a good book
 A nice hot shower did not help to warm me up and it took two cups of tea before I finally felt normal again.  But it was all worth it to get a great long run done and a new personal distance record (previous was 15.88mi from last April).

If you have the day off tomorrow, enjoy it! I have to work :(

Thursday, February 16, 2012

hunger games

Although I especially loved the books, this really is about my own hunger and the games I play on myself.

Last week I hit 40 miles for the week - only the second time in my running career.  And the hunger that has taken a hold of me in the past week seems to be uncontrollable.

Usually I can make it through the day without over eating or over indulging because I pack my food for lunch and snacks and don't have easy access to junk food.  But when I go home, the real games begin.

I fall apart during the evenings and usually give into the temptation of the cookie jar.  I tried putting the fruit next to the cookie jar in hopes that I would feel guilty and grab fruit instead of cookies.  But it hasn't really worked.

I seem to have a bottomless pit in my stomach and there really is no amount of food that can fill me up.  I had heard about this syndrome from higher mileage but never really experienced it and it is sure is a battle.

I want to eat right and fuel my body correctly but I am always craving candy or cake or cookies.  This week to try and help myself out, I made homemade peanut butter cookies in hopes that eating 4 or 5 or more of these homemade cookies would be better for me than eating lots of the store bought cookies.

I think these games are going to continue as my mileage is not going to decrease anytime soon.  I may have to stop having all the sweets in the house because if they aren't there then I wont eat them.  Or I may have to just keep working at my self control.  It really is going to continue to be a battle!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's Missing?

Happy Valentine's Day!!

This morning I was up extra early (4:50am) to get out for my 8 mile run with some marathon and tempo paced miles.  My training plan said...

1 mi easy
2 mi @ marathon pace
800m @ tempo
1600m @ tempo
800m @ tempo
2 mi @ marathon pace
1 mi easy

The plan did not mention any breaks in between sets but I decided that I should most likely rest before and after the 1600m at tempo pace.  I got dressed in my normal morning running clothes - black spandex, various under armour top, pink jacket with gloves, hat and headlamp.

I headed out and was about 3 miles into the run when I realized that I was missing something.  Now I have posted a few pictures of myself from morning runs and there is one thing that I ALWAYS wear.  I can't believe I forgot it this morning.

My reflective vest.

This has to be one of the most important pieces that I wear for morning running.  It was hanging on the back of the laundry room door and I just forgot it.  I went into the laundry room, grabbed my hat, gloves and headlamp and just went on my way.  I think wearing the vest helps the cars to see me better but I am not really sure. This morning most cars did spot me with my headlamp and moved over on the road for me. 

Besides leaving behind my vest, this run went really well.  I think hitting the marathon pace before trying tempo pace really helped to get my legs warm and ready to move.

Sometimes I think that I am not awake for these morning runs.  Just proves I really do need to lay out all my running gear the night before, just so I don't forgot something important!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The search is on for cute sports bras

I am an average sized girl but I am cheap.  I can't stand how much running clothes cost, or any clothes for that matter, and so I most likely own the cheapest sports bras on the planet.

Since I am currently refusing to spend a bunch of money on bras, I usually resort to going to Target and picking up the Champion sports bras.  The problem with those bras is the size small is too small around and then the medium is too big in the breast area.  Which leads to my problem...

(ignore all the sweat, I seem to sweat just as much in the winter as the summer)

Especially on long runs, my left side seems to chafe really bad with the Target bras.  Last week, I ran 14 miles and really cut up my skin.  Then on my next recovery run, I reopened the scab and when I got home I noticed I bled all over.  Not exactly the thing you want to see post run.

In all my years of playing sports, I have never had a problem with chafing until I started wearing these bras.  I just want a bra that fits - I want to keep the girls locked and loaded.  I like my sports bras tight because I don't like things moving around.

I think I need some new sports bras.

Sports Bra Criteria -

1. Lots of support - I just like things tight I don't know why, but not super tight around my rib cage because I need to breathe.
2. Colors - I don't want white.
3. Price - Target bras appeal to me because they are $14.99 (or less!)
4. Easy access - I like being able to go to a store and by my bras instead of online.

So there is my dilemma.  Now time to get on the hunt for some cute, affordable bras that wont leave me scared!  Where do you get your sports bras from?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIAW - Veggie Love

Happy Wednesday!! For the month of February, What I ate Wednesdays hosted by Peas and Crayons has a very special theme - VEGGIES!  When I saw this I was pretty excited because I am always looking for new ways to eat more veggies.
Back in November and December when I was doing the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge (HBBC), I tried so hard to eat 7 fruits and vegetables a day but I always seemed to come up short.  I usually eat about 5 servings of fruits or vegetables a day but the extra 1-2 servings has been tough for me in the past.  So I am going to try this month to eat more vegetables than before!

I started last night by adding tomatoes to my homemade mac and cheese bake!  I used one can of diced tomatoes as well as two fresh tomatoes.  Dinner turned out amazing with all the cheesy goodness and tomatoes!  I went back for seconds it was so good and packed leftovers for lunch today!

Tuesday Eats:
Breakfast: One egg, instant cinnamon oatmeal, 1 cup orange juice
Morning Snack: Pretzel goldfish
Lunch: Mixed greens and spinach salad with carrots and tomatoes, turkey burger with swiss cheese and no bun, mixed nuts, 3 oreos, kettle popcorn
Afternoon Snack: Banana
Dinner: Mac and Cheese with tomatoes, 3 mini Reese's peanut butter cup cookies

Total Estimated Calories consumed: 2,054

I think tomatoes are one of my favorite vegetables but there are so many to love. How do you add vegetables (and fruits!) to your every day meals??

Monday, February 6, 2012

Longer Easy Runs

Today marks 12 weeks until my first race of 2012.  Yes - I signed up for a race - I will be running my 4th half marathon on April 29th!

I should be excited but the race is still a pretty long way off and I have a lot of miles before the race.  I took on a pretty aggressive training plan in order to try and run a faster half.

A more aggressive training plans means higher weekly mileage which means longer easy runs.  In the past my easy runs have typically been around 3 or 4 miles which translates into about 25-35 minutes for a run.

Now it looks like the days of an easy 3 miler may be gone and replaced with an easy 5 or 6 miler.  I feel like the only time a 3 miler may ever make an appearance in my training is when I run a double workout.

This morning was my first longer easy run.  The moon was full and beautiful so that made getting up early for this run easier.  Most of the sugary sweets I had ingested the night before from the super bowl party I attended had digested and I was able to hit a good pace for 6 miles.

When I began my half marathon training last winter, I knew that the key to staying healthy was my easy/recovery runs.  These are the runs that form the glue to keep my training going and my body injury free (and of course some cross training too!)

It is definitely going to take a bit more planning on my part to fit in all the mileage and runs I have planned for the next 12 weeks.  I think I may just take it one week at a time and see how it goes.  I have been building my mileage over the last four weeks and this week I have increased to 40 miles!  Hopefully I can get all my runs and miles in this week and still feel good!

And so it begins....since I am still a newbie to weekly mileage over 40/week...any suggestions??

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Running while Cruising

It has been more than a week since we got back from vacation and the cruise but I have had no time to write about our cruise.  We arrived home last Sunday from Florida and then Wednesday I headed out for a business trip and returned on Firday.  Thankfully I am home again now and won't be doing any more traveling any time soon! 

I think my idea of a perfect vacation would be going to a running camp where I could eat, sleep and run! But sadly I don't really know of many places that offer vacations like that.  The next best thing has to be a cruise to the Caribbean for 7 days!

We left on a Sunday for Fort Lauderdale to meet our ship - I hadn't been on a cruise since I was 10 and Brian since he was 19.  I was pretty excited for a week of total relaxation after an extremely stressful week of work.

The first night we watched the ship leave the port before getting ready for dinner.

I woke up the first morning on the ship and Brian and I went to the gym which was packed with people.  Every one seemed to have had the same idea about working out on the first day.  I waited for a treadmill and then jumped on.  I started running and after 20 minutes the treadmill entered cool down mode.  Apparently all the treadmills had been set to stop after 20 minutes.  No matter what I tried, it seemed I could not get the treadmill to run more than 20 minutes which was annoying.

Day 1: 4.7 miles/40 minutes

The first day we spend at sea and it was formal night at dinner.

On Tuesday I woke up very early and could not get back to sleep so I decided to just go to the gym for a run.  I watched as the sun slowly rose and as we pulled into our first port.  There were two other ships that rode into the port with us and it was just amazing to watch while running on the treadmill.

Day 2: 1 mi easy/2 mi MP/1 mi easy/2 mi MP/1 mi easy - 59 minutes

After the run, we got off the ship and explored the first port!  The best part was the beautiful beaches.

Our ship was gorgeous and the whole center area had 6 glass elevators.  The center area was open and you could see up and down from any floor.  In the very middle a giant tree in a large pot was suspended above.  It was the most beautiful thing ever.

On the third day I woke up again and ran in the morning.  It was my third day on the treadmill and I was so sick of dealing with the treadmill stopping at 20 minutes.  Luckily when I reached the end of my first 20 minutes, no one was waiting for a treadmill so I just restarted it and kept going.  About half way through the second 20 minutes, a man two treadmills down from me decided to yell at me for staying on for more than 20 minutes.  I was slightly annoyed but I didn't say anything back to the man and just kept running.

Day 3: 4.65 miles/40 minutes

We were at another port on Day 3, so we got off the boat again and explored.  The boat docked next to us was the same exact boat which was awesome! The ships are so massive!  We got back on the boat for lunch and I made sure to get some ice cream and then hit the pool deck to read and get some sun!

On the fourth day, we docked at yet another port.  We got up and had breakfast before heading off the boat.  I gave my legs a little bit of rest and ran before lunch instead of in the morning.  My knee still hurt a little bit after the run and I assumed it was not enjoying all the running on the treadmill.  I was actually feeling good with all the running.

Day 4: 4.65 miles/40 minutes

The fifth day which was also Friday, I decided to take the day off (which is what I usually do) and enjoyed our last port.  The vacation seemed to go by so quickly and I was sad that soon we would be heading back home.  Friday was also our second formal night which I really enjoyed! The food was amazing on the cruise and the desserts were to die for! Tonight we had Baked Alaska which I have not had in years!

Our last full day we spend at sea sailing back home.  I worked finishing my third and fourth books of the cruise and getting even more sun!  It was truly an amazing trip!  I also fit in my long run!  I was up at 6am to beat the gym crowd and was surprised to see the gym completely empty when I arrived.  I pounded out my first hour with just a few our people entering the gym and then finished up my last two 20 minutes segments.  I think having a break every 20 minutes to sip water really helped me to get this run done on the treadmill.  Long runs on the treadmill are not easy

Day 6: 11.5miles/1hr 39mins

Total miles run: 33
Total miles cruised: 2100

It definitely was an amazing cruise and I am glad I was able to work in all my runs while still enjoying the vacation. 

Have you ever been on a cruise??  If not, I strongly suggest it!!