Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIAW: New Meals

Happy Wednesday!  This morning I am beat - I ran 9 miles Tuesday night with my run club and then woke up this morning and did another 4 miles.  Another fake double and my legs are in need of some rest.

This week for What I Ate Wednesday, I thought I would try to switch it up because I eat the same foods almost every day.  I really did try to "Go Green" and I tried to use some new recipes!

So instead of showing you my usual daily meals with my boring oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, I thought I would show some of my new favorite meals from the past few days!

In order that they appear -

Sunday's Dinner - Crock Pot Chicken Chili with toasted Italian bread and butter.  This recipe was so easy and made a ton of leftovers.  It is packed with protein and really fills you up.  I ate leftovers on Tuesday for lunch and it kept me full until my run at 5:30pm.

Monday's Lunch - Egg White and Avocado Salad with lettuce, peppers, tomato, carrots and little dressing on the side. I made a few changes with this and took the yolk of the eggs and mixed it with mayo and then used lettuce instead of a wrap.  This was a great little lunch to go along with my usual cheddar goldfish and animal crackers.

Tuesday's Post Run Dinner - Small Shells with Pesto. I was not very hungry last night after my run which happens every once in a while.  I had made the pesto a while back and stored it in the fridge and I just happened to have some leftover shells so I heated them up together.  This was delicious and just reaffirms how much I love Pesto!

Thanks to Peas and Crayons for hosting WIAW!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Confessions of a First Time Marathoner

Finally Friday! It has been a long week and I must admit that I have done a few crazy things this week all in the name of training.  Also some less crazy things, but none the less still a few confessions...

I eat two hard boiled eggs for breakfast pretty much every morning, especially when I go to the gym before work for Total Body class or Spinning.  I usually eat one of the egg yolks and throw the other away.  Last weekend I was reading my Food Network magazine and found this interesting little article about eggs.

The weather has been great with highs of 80F and I have run every day in shorts!  Next week, I will be back in capris or spandex because the temps will go back to normal for March.

Thursday morning was the morning I did something crazy - I woke up at 4am to fit in my 10 mile tempo run before the Total Body class at the gym at 6am.  I am not sure what made me think that this would be a good idea but I doubt I will ever try this again.  I managed to get 9.6 miles with 4 tempo mile repeats in before 5:30am and then headed to the gym for the hour Total body class.  Part of the reason I did this was because I couldn't run after work due to a social engagement.  

The social engagement after work was mini potluck party and I brought Southwest Black Bean salsa.  I have been waiting for an opportunity to use this recipe and this was the perfect occasion.  It turned out to be delicious and everyone loved it.  The recipe is from Skinny Taste.  How does mine compare to the photo from SkinnyTaste? (My salsa is the one on top.)

Today is my first complete day off in 13 days.  I think I needed a total day off because Monday I went to my usual yoga class after work but my brain was a bit scattered due to training and I forgot my sneakers.  I was sporting this cute look while walking out the gym!  These shoes are from ALDO and I have them in the black and the brown! They are just so comfortable even though they are 2.5 inch heels.

I so wish I was going to see The Hunger Games tonight but instead I will be going to bed early because I have another monster run in the morning - 15 miles with 2x (4mi @ MP + 1mi @ Tempo).

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WIAW (after a 20 miler)

Happy Wednesday!  I am dead tired today after my Tuesday night run club workout and then an easy run this morning.  The morning run was beautiful though with the clear sky and the stars shining bright.  Plus I was in shorts because we are still having some awesome weather!

Here is another week of What I ate Wednesday by Peas and Crayons with a special "What I are last Saturday after my 20 mile long run!"  Saturday also happened to be St. Patrick's Day so I made corned beef and cabbage for dinner in the crock pot - it turned out really well!

Pre-Run Breakfast: Instant Oatmeal with raisins and cup of coffee
Mid-Run Snack: Jet Blackberry Gu, water and Strawberry Gu Chomps.
Post-Run Breakfast: Leftover Stuffed Peppers, orange and Pretzel Goldfish
Lunch: Flour Tortilla (heated in microwave) with pesto, mozzarella and salsa
Afternoon Snack: Cadberry egg, animal crackers and chewy granola bar
Dinner: Corned Beef and Cabbage with potatoes and carrots and onions and Italian bread with butter
Dessert: Handful of rollos

I have been using My Fitness Pal to track my food and exercise because I have been wanting to know how much I actually need to eat based off how much I exercise.  Normally without any exercise I would need 1400 calories a day.  From there I add on my exercise and on Saturday after my long run it increased my desired daily calorie intake to 3600 (2200 calories burned from 20 mile long run).

I found it hard to eat 3600 calories in one day because honestly that is a lot of food!  Although it is good to keep track of my calories, I am finding that I don't necessarily follow it 100%.  If I am feeling hungry, then I eat a little bit more but if I am not then I don't.  On Saturday after my 20 miler, I ended the day eating 2700 calories total and I wasn't starving without eating the extra 900 calories.  Sunday though I ended up eating more than my 1700 daily calorie goal (300 extra from exercise) so I think it all evens out in the end.

Anyone else use My Fitness Pal online or on their phone?  Do you keep track of your calories or just go by if you feel hungry or not??

Monday, March 19, 2012

10 weeks down

10 weeks until the marathon!  A few weeks ago I received this training shirt - sadly its cotton and a little big.

The time is really flying by - hard to believe I am half way done with my training.  My training plan is essentially 20 weeks long, with the first ten week focused on base and mileage building and the second ten weeks focused on more speed and tempo training.

With ten weeks to go, I am now starting to see specified paces for my runs.  There seems to be a lot of runs coming up with marathon pace (MP) in them.  And that scares me a little bit because I don't really have a marathon pace.

I have talked before about VDOT and how I use it to dictate my paces for runs based on my previous PR.  Ever since last fall I have been using a VDOT based off my 5k PR and it has worked pretty well.  But now that I am marathon training I wonder if I should be using that OR if I should use the VDOT based off my PR from last spring's half marathon.  There is quite a bit of difference...

VDOT based on my 5k PR
VDOT based on my half marathon PR
Marathon pace based off my 5k PR is 7:33 min/mile while marathon pace based off my half marathon PR is 8:01 min/mile.  With my half marathon race still six weeks away, there really isn't time to try and update my half PR to get a better idea of where I am at.

To handle this, at first I am going to start off with the 8:01 min/mile pace for my marathon paced runs and go from there.  If the pace starts to feel too hard or too easy I can adjust from there. Also in less than two weeks I have a hilly 15k race.  This race should serve as a little guide for my endurance and fitness. 

How do you determine your paces? 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Semi Solo 20 miler

This week was all about just taking it one day at a time.  And seeing where my runs would take me.

After having that little stomach bug last week, I thought this week wasn't going to turn out too well.  My appetite took until about Wednesday to finally come back and I was having trouble hydrating.  Tuesday at my running club my calves cramped up during my intervals.  Thursday it happened again, although less severe.  I knew I was still dehydrated.

My training schedule had this Saturday as my first 20 miler (of two total on the schedule).  A part of me thought, no I shouldn't do it but another thought well I need to try.

So early Saturday morning I met up with my usual Saturday morning group and headed out on a 12 mile loop.  I started running with a very nice man and we chatted the whole time.  It was really nice to have the company and it made the miles fly by.  We ran one of my favorite routes which includes a portion on an old railroad bed.  When we got back to the car, I made the decision the head out again so I drank some water and ate a gel.  Then I packed my phone, keys, water, and gu chomps into my nathan hydration pack and started out on a 8 mile route.

I was feeling surprisingly good - the weather was a perfect 50F with some fog and I was taking in the sights.  Those final miles began to tick off; the first 6 which went pretty fast, the final 2 were slightly tougher.

The route I had planned to run for my final 8 miles, had a portion of trail that I ran with my running buddy just four weeks ago.  Compared to that time, the trail was perfectly clear instead of covered with snow!

Thinking back now, the run seems like a blur.  I know breaking up the run into a 12 miler and an 8 miler made this run so much easier.  I got to a point on the last 8 miles where I was talking to myself out loud, giving myself encouragement to keep going.  20 miles really is a long way and after finishing I was just astonished that I had actually accomplished this for the first time.  

Once I got home, I suffered through an ice bath.  Each time I take one I know that it is helping me but it really drops my core temperature.  Even with a super hot shower, it took me a long time to warm up.  I actually had to go outside into the sunny 70F weather to finally get warm. 

And in honor of St. Patrick's Day and also to help me refuel (it just kind of worked out), I made corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot.  It turned out delicious and there are plenty of leftovers for tomorrow!

Hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day - I am pretty tired from my run so it looks like it wont be a late night for me!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Secret to Lunch Runs

The weather this week has unbelievable for March.  With the morning temperatures still hanging in the 30s, I have been opting to complete my runs at other times.

Yesterday was the first outdoor practice for my running club.  It was a glorious 55F when I got out of work and I was so excited to see all my friends and run a hard workout.  In the Spring we always meet at a local park area which I just love because it has a nice paved road around a large reservoir with a nice uphill and downhill portion. 

The workout was very tough - 5x1000m at interval pace with equal rest/recovery - but it was great to be running in shorts! First run of 2012 in shorts.

Often times I will run Wednesday morning after my Tuesday night workouts, but sometimes it is just too exhausting to get up early and run.  This week it was especially hard because I am still recovering from being sick and also we have daylight savings time.

Daylight savings time really has kicked my butt this week and so I decided Wednesday would be a lunch run.  It worked out perfectly too since the temperature finally had risen to 50F by noon today when I headed out for my easy run.

When I got back I didn't really feel like taking a cold shower, since I am pretty sure the hot water still doesn't work in the showers at work.  I had packed a very special item that has helped me in the past to rebound from a lunch run without a shower....

My hairdryer.

Because I sweat in my hair.  No matter what I just do, so I have found that if I can't take a shower, blow drying my hair is the best way to freshen up my hair.  I have used this technique more often after my long runs on Saturday morning when I hit up Pilates class at the gym.  It really does the trick to make people think you weren't just sweating your head off.

After my run, lunch never tasted any better! Leftover tacos with ground beef and rice with a side of corn chips, avocado, tomatoes, salsa and a dash of sour cream. 

Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Perfect Peanut Butter Cookie

Recently I have been crazing peanut butter ALL. THE. TIME.  And I have been searching for the perfect peanut butter cookie recipe to satisfy my craving.

I found three recipes online and decided to try each one to see which one turned out the best.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have made each recipe and then used Brian as a guinea pig.  Of course he loved all the homemade cookies coming his way, but it wasn't until this weekends batch that he said (without any prodding) that this was the best cookies.

These satisfy my peanut butter craving maybe a little too much because I can't stop eating them!  Maybe it is the special ingredient of Peanut M&M's or maybe it is because I accidentally got distracted while baking and let the ingredients whisk in my mixer extra long.  Either way, this recipe is definitely going into my recipe book!

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 c. butter flavored Crisco, soft
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp.milk
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. Peanut Butter M&M's
1. Preheat oven to 350.  
2.  In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. 
3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat Crisco until smooth.  Beat in peanut butter, then sugars.  
4.  Add egg, vanilla, and milk and beat until smooth.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  
5.  Lastly, gently stir in Peanut Butter M&M's.  
6.  Place rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack. 
(***cooking times may vary by oven so keep an eye on them until they are golden brown on the edges)  

Favorite Recipe -

Runner's Up - 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Perfect time to come back

Well it looks like the sickness has finally left this house! 

When I woke up Wednesday and felt pretty good, I took advantage of it and cleaned the house of all disease and sanitized all the dirty laundry.  I definitely over did it because by 10am I was on the couch asleep.  Thursday was much better and I even went into work for half the day.  By Friday I felt really good and pretty much back to normal.  Saturday I decided to head out for a run but of course the weather did not want to cooperate.

Saturday weather and forecast
I really hope Saturday is the last day of real winter around here!  Because of the cold, I decided to run on the treadmill Saturday.  The run was actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I felt pretty good - my legs and lungs felt like I hadn't just taken 4 days off.

But Sunday was the perfect day for a run!  It finally feels like spring around here with the temperatures in the 50s and the sun shining so bright.  And with all this nice weather, all my neighbors decided to come out of hibernation - I saw so many bikers and runners while I was out.  And I broke out the capris!

Breaking out the capris once again!
Now that I am feeling better again, it is time to get back on track for marathon training.  This coming week was supposed to be a peak week for me with my first 20 miler on Saturday but I am not sure that is going to happen.

The past two weeks have stacked up like this mileage wise - 40 and 43 miles.  This past week when I was sick I was supposed to hit 47 miles and next week was 52 miles.  After the 52 mile week I am supposed to drop down to 46 miles.  After looking at my schedule and talking to my running coach and seeking some help from Marlene, I have made some adjustments.

First, I am going to take it one day at time because although I feel great, my appetite has been a little off lately.  I have not been feeling really hungry like I usually do but have been forcing myself to eat small meals throughout the day.

So with that in consideration, I plan to try and hit around 40 miles this week as long as every thing goes well.  If I feel good I will try for 46 and that way I can just go into next week and hit 46 miles again and will be right on track.

This all depends on how I feel and if my appetite decides to come back.  I haven't really dealt with sickness during training and I am hoping that this plan will go well.  Training really is all about being flexible and handling the challenges that come along.

Beautiful sunset after a beautiful day
Tomorrow its back to the normal schedule of work and morning runs! Hopefully this week will be better than last week!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What happens when you're sick

Monday night, Brian and I came down with severe flu symptoms.  I wont give too many details but lets just say it was bad and I haven't been that sick in a long time.
 I started feeling a tiny bit better around 3am Tuesday morning so I drove Brian to the emergency room because he was still vomiting every 30 minutes or so.  We arrived and they checked him in and shortly after that I became ill again so they admitted me and gave me an IV and anti-nausea medicine.  I must say the IV and medicine did help but it wasn't until this morning that I finally felt well enough again.  Brian on the other hand is still in bed. 

Seems like I have the stronger immune system in this family.  But it still stinks to be sick.  We are both very dehydrated but thankfully we are both able to keep fluids and some solid food down now.

So what happens to running when your sick.  Well yesterday it didn't happen and I have to say that bothered me.  While I was in the ER, I was tired and uncomfortable but I was also angry that I was sick.  All I could think about was how I was going to miss my workout.  And along with all these crazy thoughts, there were times I wanted to throw the whole training schedule out the window. 

Dramatic, I know.

Its just when you are sick and feeling your worst, I think your brain plays tricks on you.  You start to feel like you will never get better (Similarly to when you are injured) and that nothing will ever be the same.

This morning things are better, but not 100%.  Seems like this flu/intestinal virus thing has been going around.  Hopefully this is the last we see of it because it really is not fun. 

And hopefully I will be back to running soon.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Celebrating another year

Saturday was my birthday.  It was such a packed day of activity that I didn't even get to write a post!

I woke up very early to run 18 miles and it went really well.  The route was very hilly but I felt good pretty much the whole way which was awesome.  The temperature was perfect (40F) but the winds were horrible.  Half the run I was being pushed from behind by the wind and the other half I was running headfirst into the 30+mph winds!

My running buddy was so nice to remember my birthday and surprise me with mini cupcakes! They were definitely part of my refueling on Saturday!

When I arrived home from the run, I rushed to take an ice bath, shower, and pack to head to my in-laws.  Brian had planned for us to go see Les Miserables and go out to a nice dinner with his parents.  Sitting down for an extended period after my run was not ideal but I think the ice bath really helped.

The fun did not stop there because at the home of my mother in-law, there was a perfect red velvet cake waiting for me!  It was a perfect way to end the day.

By the end of the day I was pretty tired from all the excitement and full from all the cake! It definitely was a great birthday!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pacing your long run

This weekend, similar to many others, I have a long run to complete Saturday morning!  The run tomorrow will be the longest I have ever run at one time and I excited but nervous.  Thanks to good friends, I wont be alone for the 18 hilly miles.
 The question has crossed my mind this week about what kind of pace I should be running for my long runs.  Of course I have referred to the VDOT and McMillian calculators but while searching this week I came across a fun chart from Dailymile.

This chart is actually pretty accurate compared to the pacing calculators.  Its just more fun to look at the chart!

This will be my first time running 18 miles so I should run it at my easy pace (8:50 min/mile) + :30-:45 seconds.  

Are you running a long run this weekend?  How far and what's your pace?

Have a great Friday!